"What is your secret?" asked the traveler of the Rose. "How is it that I have traveled this same path by which you grow for most of my life, and as I grow old and weary, you only grow more beautiful with time?"
"What have you thought about while traveling for so many years?" asked the Rose of the man.
"I have had tired thoughts," replied the traveler. "This road seems so very, very long and I have always wished that it were easier, smoother, and paved with gold."
"Oh," smiled the Rose. "Now I understand your weariness … I was happy to see you walking by each day, and I was always thankful that you chose to walk this sunlit path beside which I have grown."
Gratitude is the elixir of eternal youth. From gratitude, all things fresh and new and beautiful unfold. Those who are thankful for each new day never get tired of living. Their passion for life is unstoppable. They bring their own fountain of youth to every experience because those who live in gratitude have no time or reason to ever grow old.
The great masters of the world, the ones who have walked every road, never ask for anything and yet they receive everything. Why? Because of their amazing view! A true master sees only the gift; he recognizes, accepts and is grateful for everything that is before him.
He sees perfection in every raindrop, every thunderstorm; in the bend of every road and the stride of every traveler. He views the world from the heart of a child, and sees it all through the eyes of a sage. His respect and gratitude for life is so immense that it becomes who he is. He awakens each morning so that he can be grateful. He takes each step so that he can give thanks. He tithes his soul so that his heart can experience gratitude, and his life's purpose is to appreciate it all.
Gratefulness is not something he does or says; it is who he is. The view of the master is completeness. He sees that every thread of the tapestry is necessary for the tapestry to exist. If one thread were missing or broken, life itself would perish without honor.
Every master views wholeness from wholeness, through wholeness, into wholeness... From whence a master comes, he arrives; with every breath he takes, he emerges.
He is the artist and the art, the dancer and the dance, the poet and the poem. There is no difference between what he does and what he is. His gratitude speaks from his extraordinary reverence for completeness—knowing that from the sun both light and shadow are born.
Youthfulness—vigor, enthusiasm, excitement; a deep appreciation for this moment—arises from him, he does not arise from it. Think of the great masters throughout history; many of them live much longer than the average human being. They suffer no dementia, no loss of wonder, no lack of enthusiasm for living. And when they physically depart, the signs of their presence on Earth—the echoes of their footfalls—remain forever etched upon this world.
Everywhere we look there is a master who still exists—perhaps not physically, yet the youthful energy and elegant abandon of their greatness survives. And, it is from these masters that other masters come; from the ageless spirit of completeness, new masters arrive.
Learn from the steps of the masters. They are all still dancing, and even though some of them have left this Earth, none of them have ever grown old nor have they died. Live as though what you give will remain forever. Be grateful for what is to come and for what is already here. Look with joyful wonder at that which is before you, even if it has not yet taken form. Be thankful that you are an integral part of the perfect plan—that you are a golden thread in the tapestry of Life.
Teach by example. Live as you ask others to live. Speak as you encourage others to speak. Love as you would inspire others to love. You can take nothing with you when you exit this world, so bequeath your goodness now. Leave the music of your spirit upon every path you travel; scatter seeds of youthful wonder alongside every road; let every pebble beneath your feet be in awe of your appreciation and reverence for the journey.
Let gratitude be your breath; let it carry your soul; let it live through your kindness, your generosity and your love. See as the master sees; step back and see that every long and dusty road is a pathway to becoming more. Know that completeness is the secret of eternal life—that nothing can survive without being whole. Know that the beggar exists so that the giver can unfold. Know that hunger and homelessness occur for some so that others may learn to serve. Know that every mountain creates a valley, that today's dusk becomes tomorrow's dawn; and that every tear ever cried brings forth a hand to hold.
This is a life with a view—a view of completeness; a view that surges past a three-dimensional experience and sees every piece of the puzzle as the wisdom of the whole. Honor the master in yourself. Be the wise man in the mirror; the creator and the creation that sees itself in everything, and nurtures the becoming of a truly enlightened world.
Let gratitude be your response to all that is, for it is an expression of the understanding of the duality within wholeness—a view of opposites richly woven; a blend of many colors, many beginnings, many ends; the dance of creation—the celebration of the circle of life.
Be youthful. Be curious and open-minded. And always be grateful for those who walk beside you. Think like a rose. Live exquisitely. Learn passionately. Love lavishly. Be thankful that every step you take is another chance for you to emerge and unfold. Honor your own unique experience as you walk this world, value life's gifts and everything around you will be bathed in gold.
—Heather K. O'Hara, © 2014 and beyond. All rights reserved.