As members of the human family, one of the things we all share is the experience of having opposing forces clash in our lives, creating regular, sometimes daily, conflict and disorder for us. Whether we see these forces as positive and negative, good and bad, or as light and shadow, each one is part of the whole of reality; and each is not only necessary but also extremely purposeful. Light and shadow can be seen to represent the core opposition, or the primary dialectic, that we face in this life. And their purpose is nothing less than to bring about transformation in our lives. Recognizing that there is a purpose for everything in our lives is the first step in being thankful for everything that does come our way.

When we see everything as part of the entire picture of reality that it is, rather than separating, labeling, or getting lost in or overwhelmed by any of the parts, we are much better able to first, appreciate everything what for what it is, and second, put everything in its place for what it is meant to be: contributors to our growth; everything offers opportunities to us for facilitating our progress toward reestablishing the original unity we were born with.

A second step in how to be thankful for everything is in knowing that the intermingling of light and shadow in our lives is actually at the heart of a timeless blueprint for transforming our lives. How could we not welcome this into our lives? Experiencing this pattern is what allows us to see both the detail and the whole at the same time, while also knowing that we are headed in a direction that will ultimately benefit us.

Finally, seeing this process as good for us and letting it take its natural course allows us to step back, reflect even more deeply on what is really happening, and be grateful for it all. So, think about what has brought light to your life. Was it always light upon light, or was it at other times light upon darkness? Would you have really known the value or benefit of this light if it hadn’t also been for the shadows in your life, those things that greatly challenged you, created tension, or made things really difficult for you? Those times when you have been most aware of the forces of light and shadow in your life have made you who you are today. Be thankful for all of it!