How many ways do you count in life? Sometimes you need to count; other times, you could let go of that need, in order to feel peaceful and on purpose.

We live in a global society that counts darn near, if not, everything. We count the odds, percentages, money, calories, wins, grievances, friends on social sites, who has what and if it’s more or less than we have, our “chickens before they hatch,” and so on. What are your reasons for counting what you count? What does some of your counting really mean to you: a way to keep track of what needs to be managed, or a way to establish self-worth in the eyes of others?

Minister Joyce Meyer spoke about a bible reading class she took in the early days, where participants were to read so many chapters a day in order to read the entire book in a year. She was quite self-pleased at all the checkmarks filling the days on her calendar positioned on the fridge so everyone could see it. She was reading but not learning, reading but not receiving and absorbing the messages in the texts. But the checkmarks were adding up, that is, until life got in the way. Then there were so many days without checkmarks, and those blank spaces kept adding up, until she was so far behind there was no way to catch up. Soon, she felt quite the opposite of self-pleased, which is a common result of counting the wrong things or counting for the wrong reason.

How often it is that we count things in life in order to prove to others that we count so that we can, we hope, feel that we do. Or, we do this so that our ego gets stroked, rather than so that we can share, or grow, or be of true service through significance. We do this because we believe the opinions of others before we believe in ourselves or the Truth about Source and from Source about how significant a contributor to the overall scheme of life each of us is.

Too often, we count in reverse; that is, we count what we perceive we lack. So much focus on lack causes us to ignore or forget what we could appreciate. As I thought about this writing, I kept hearing in my mind, Bing Crosby singing a lyric line from a song: “I go to sleep counting my blessings.” How often do you count your blessings? How often do you count the ways Source assists and supports you, not only at certain times, but every day?

One school of thought is that we should express gratitude for the thing we ask for, before we receive what we ask for. It’s a good practice. However, because of the way our ego-aspect sometimes thinks, this method trips us up because there’s more to this than just the words: there’s the FEELING we have, which is where the energy is that gets matched or fulfilled in ways appropriate for us, or holds our good at arm’s reach from us.

When we keenly feel the lack of something AND our foundation of trust in the Universe (Source) to support us in ways for our highest good is faulty, such a statement of gratitude-before-arrival feels false, unbelievable. The Law of Attraction is clear: we receive what we believe. Yes, you can state thanks before you receive what you ask for; but the most effective, authentic, and genuine expression of this is when true appreciation is attached, for what you already have and for how the Universe provides, especially once you get limiting beliefs out of the way and allow it to assist you.

Instead of saying, “Thank you for (whatever you’re asking for)” ahead of receiving it, it may work better to say, “Thank you for everything. Thank you for always knowing what I really need and providing it in right timing.” In fact, this is my preferred way of expressing appreciation to the Universe because inherent in it is absolute trust that the Universe has more information and resources than I do, and will connect me with them as and when it’s right.

I find it effective to pause and appreciate what I have, to recall and re-appreciate the numerous ways the Universe demonstrates its resourcefulness and creative ways of supporting me, despite how others apply their counting system to my experiences and life, which often has nothing to do with how the Universe views me or my experiences. I’m thankful for the ability to choose my thoughts, and for ALL the experiences that have helped me to learn how to do this better, which is all of them.

Recently, a new method to respond to internal complaining, counting, or negative thoughts has emerged in me. When any of these types of thoughts surface, I find myself switching into appreciation mode. I know a choice is made to do this, but the shift happens so quickly, I’m not aware of having made the choice, at least, this is the case a good deal of the time. I can only imagine this is a result of LOTS of practice about this.

These days I’m feeling the power of appreciation more and more, something we’ve been told (and told, and told) to do deliberately. And it isn’t a power used to get stuff (though, that’s an outcome in ways appropriate for me), but a power that creates serenity and joy in me. And to me, this is priceless. It’s a more in-flow way to be. It’s become a way to count my blessings, to bless my life, to bless others. It’s soothing, joyful, and has and serves purpose.

This week, pay attention to what you count and why, as well as how many times and ways you count in or contribute to the lives of others. Ask yourself, or feel in your heart, whether what you count assists you and your purpose, maybe even lifts you up, or whether it pulls you down. Any counting that leads you into deeper appreciation, and into it more often, is worth keeping count of. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

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Author's Bio: 

Joyce Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She’s author of “I Don’t Want to be Your Guru” and other books/ebooks, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles and free downloads. See all that’s offered by Joyce and on her site at http://stateofappreciation.weebly.com/guest-articles.html#.UPGKUB3BGSo