When I learned Plaid for Women’s focus this month was to be centered around gratitude, I wanted to go back to the classics, as there has been so much talk about gratitude over the past number of years, primarily due to Oprah’s rousing endorsement of writing in a gratitude journal daily (which, I believe by the way, to be one of the most powerful rituals to adopt to energize your life and your heart).
There have been many masters who have covered the topic of gratitude in life, love, and in our work – Aesop being only one. I grew up reading Aesop’s fables and continue to revere the wisdom from these simple, yet profound parables. How many of us remember the wonderful story of Androcles and the Lion?
By way of a short refresher – here it is:
Once upon a time there was a slave named Androcles who had escaped from his master and fled to the forest. As he was wandering about, he came upon a Lion lying down moaning in pain. At first, Androcles turned to flee, but finding that the Lion did not pursue him, he turned and went back to him. As he came nearer, the Lion showed him his paw, which was swollen and bleeding. Androcles saw that a huge thorn was sticking into his paw and causing the pain.
Androcles pulled out the thorn and bandaged the paw of the Lion, who was soon able to rise. When he did so, he began to lick the hand of Androcles like a dog. Then the Lion took Androcles to his cave, and every day would bring him meat from which to live. Not too long thereafter, both Androcles and the Lion were captured. The slave was sentenced to be thrown to the Lion, after the Lion had been starved for several days.
The day arrived and the Emperor and all his Court came to see the spectacle. Androcles was led into the middle of the arena. Soon the Lion was released from his den, and he bounded towards his victim. Yet, as soon as he came near to Androcles he recognized his friend. He fawned upon him, and once again licked his hands like a friendly dog.
The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned Androcles to him. Androcles told him the entire story. Upon hearing this miraculous set of events, the emperor pardoned and freed the slave and released the Lion to live freely in his native forest.
What can we learn and apply in our daily lives from this simple story? Many things! However, let’s just focus on three for today:
- Remember that gratitude is indeed the sign of a noble soul. Secure, noble individuals give thanks to those who have friended and supported them in life and work. They also give credit where credit is due, regardless of the consequence by standing by the truth. The lion, though hungry, desperate, and certainly ‘in charge’, did not forget the lowly slave who had befriended him.
- In times of great celebration we revel in our blessings; yet, in our day to day life struggles, it is easy to forget the people and things, for which we are grateful. Thus, gratitude is a daily ritual. Every day offers us a new opportunity to say ‘thank you’ as our feet hit the floor out of bed.
- Finally, we each have so very much for which to be thankful, especially during this Thanksgiving holiday period: our breaths, our ability to give love, our ability to choose, our ability to laugh, each present moment we live, and those individuals who cross our paths – each and every day – to name just a few things. From my perspective, these incidental encounters in our lives are Divine and are not in any way incidental (in fact I wrote a book about that very concept) – and for these random encounters we must be grateful, as without them, we are alone and are limited in what we can learn, teach, and how we can serve one another……just as the Lion and the Slave have shown us.
Do you appreciate hearing real stories like this from real women? There’s strength and support in numbers —join Plaid for Women to connect with real women just like you!