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The dance of Thanks and Givens: a terza rima poem
By Michelle Liew
Thank You DIdo
When one's expectations are reduced to zero one really appreciates everything one does have.
Stephen Hawking, British theoretical physicist renowned for predictions as much as he is for having succeeded despite encumbering disability, very much reveals the secret of his success with this very quote.
And surely, he says it well. over time we develop expectations of life that, when unfulfilled, can disappoint and leave a sour aftertaste. Increased demand leads to heightened disappointment.
We let the dark clouds or shadows cover our eyes and obscure the view of the many blessings that we have in front of us. The harshness and business of daily living takes away the charms of the little things that we have in life. We become hardened and cynical and it is difficult to blame us for being so. It becomes hard to see the world through a pair of more positive glasses.
While this is trite, it is also true. Everything starts by appreciating the little things around us. When can start to do so, the positive begins to happen in our lives.
Symbolism of the forget-me-not
The various legends surrounding the pretty blue forget-me-not, a symbol of remembrance and appreciation, are good reminders of remembrance and appreciation.
In a German legend, God went to each plant after the Earth was created and gave each a name. A pretty blue flower asked Him, “What about me?” So God named it the Forget Me Not so that it will always be cherished.
In another legend, the Christ Child, sitting on his mother Mary’s lap, said that he wished the world could see her eyes. He waved a hand over the ground and little blue flowers, hence named Forget me nots, appeared.
The legends and the consequent symbolism surrounding the little blue flower all point to the importance of cherishing the little, but important things we have.
Why we take things for granted
Appreciating something for what it is can be difficult owing to a few elements that can weaken the ability to see things from a better perspective and consequently, to help ourselves see the positives that we have in our lives.
When our anything is there for us all the time, we get accustomed to its presence. When we have continued experience that something can be relied on, The familiarity leads us to believe that it will always be there and when it is taken away from us, we feel the sting.
Family is certainly a great example of how this happens. We get accustomed to the presence of our parents and children so when, one of them is distanced from us for any reason the sting becomes more pronounced.
Negative experiences in life definitely generate cynicism and the disbelief in the good that can happen. When we are taken advantage of, experience any unfairness or are misunderstood, cynicism rears its not-so-pretty head.
I have recently encountered this with a friend, a formerly l and positive person full of faith in Providence. The unfair treatment he had received in his career and the failure to be appreciated himself has led to him questioning anything and everything that can be good. It has also made him angsty and temperamental when he encountering other trivial, untoward experiences, distancing him from his wife and family.
It is a vicious cycle to be broken out of. Negativity breeds more. As with the old adage: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”
Failure to look beyond
When the present moment is a negative one, it can be asking for the moon to look beyond it and see the plus side of things. The cynicism that a negative experience generates stops us from seeing the good already in our lives or appreciating it.
A loss of a job, especially through unjust means can make it difficult to look beyond. The difficulty of adjusting financially and emotionally makes us lose focus on the path ahead and think only of the negative aspects of the loss. We fail to see that it is instead an opportunity for us to move in another, perhaps better, direction.
What we have is not scarce.
What I mean by this is that some of the things we have are things that many others already do. Our basic needs-that of food, air and water, are shared by many so we end up devaluing them even though they are so important.
When what we have is not scarce, it becomes easy to overlook it and not see its value. We take it as a given-which it is-which will never be depleted.
We could not be more wrong, of course.
Our little gifts
Of these gifts, which do you most appreciate?
The gifts we take for granted
Our senses, family, health, friendships or the relationships we have with our spouses are things that we often take for granted, though that has already been said before. Instead, I choose to focus on some of the gifts given to us which we often take for granted-some of our abilities that we seldom see the value of until we stop to think about them.
Our gift of language and communication.
We learn language as soon as we are born, owing to the motherese that our parents start using with us when we come into this world. Our ability to communicate with others,something not in scarcity, is sadly not valued by many.
With the ease of the internet,cell phone technology and the use of emoticons and symbols, language is further devalued. The use of short forms and symbols to make communication faster reduces, unfortunately, the need of the proper use of language.
The gift of mathematics.
Again, this is not in scarcity. While most of us are not professors of mathematics, we are all educated to perform simple calculations that help us to pay our bills and facilitate other activities that require them.
Perhaps the stress of all the mathematics homework we received as children has taking the appreciation we have for the ability to do simple sums away!
The gift of science
Again, perhaps too-intense biology and chemistry classes has taken the joy of appreciating science away. Yet without it, the computers we use right now to type these words would not be available to us, nor would we be able to share our writing with the rest of the world.
We would still be using horses and carriages instead of cars and no, we would not be able to enjoy the availability of Smart TV.
The gift of music
Music is an often taken for granted, but necessary addition to our daily lives. We have one less tool to alleviate stress when it is taken away from us. We have one less aesthetic that adds much quality to our lives.
The gift of the soul
One of the joys of being a human being is the ability to judge right from wrong and tell the good from the bad, so it is sad when this gift of the soul is compromised or misguided. The joys we would be able to experience were we to use this gift in the right way!
The gift of self
With our set of abilities and talents, we are gifts to be treasured by others and by ourselves. Again, it is regrettable when this gift is not treasured.
The gift of peace
Sadly, dark clouds of narcissism and self-preservation has stopped us from appreciating this rare gift. Many in the world spend a lot of time on wars or other conflicts that erupt from selfish self-interest.There is insistence on always being in the right, but is that necessarily true?
How to appreciate the things around us
The more trivial this sounds, the more the need for appreciation.. It is when we have to take a step back to re-learn how to say a simple thank you for the things around us.
It all starts with gratitude for the little things that we have, no matter how small. When the chips are down, we stand a better chance of getting them up again when we are able to say “thank you” every day for the people around us, the food we can eat or the air we breathe,
Being grateful for the things we have attracts more of the good into our lives.
Celebrate the small things.
If we think of ourselves as being unfortunate, there is always someone who is more so.
Celebrating the small things in life is really a start to being able to cherish and have the bigger, better gifts handed over to us.
Remember people around us.
Again, we seldom miss someone’s presence until that person is distanced from us in one way or another. What about cherishing them when they are around us?
Focus on what is right in our lives.
Easy to say when the tide is turned against you, many might tell me, but all of us have had that tide turned against us at some point in our lives. The difference between a happy, successful person and one who is beaten down is that he thinks about what he already has in his arsenal.
Focusing on the good things we already have may not exactly give us much more immediately. However, it does give us a happier start towards the better.
Instead of thinking about or bemoaning about the negatives, take action with the positives we already do have. If we do not know how to cook something, take action with our hands, our minds and learn the recipe. If we do not know how to play baseball, tuse the eyes, hands and ears and be willing to learn. You get the idea!
A Terza Rima Poem
A Terza Rima, literally translated, means ‘third rhyme.” The stanzas of terza rima poems are written in three lines or tercets.The last syllable of the second line of the first stanza rhymes with the last syllable of the first line of the second.
That might sound a little complicated, so the rhyme scheme of the Terza Rima are like this:
And so on, for as many stanzas as we wish.
The enjoyable part of this poetic form is that it is unrestricted as to subject and the number of stanzas. However, it must end with either a single line or a couplet that has a final syllable rhyming with the final syllable of the middle line of the last stanza.
First thought of by Italian poet Dante, it appeared in his poem Divina Commedia. He was said to have been influenced by the lyrics used by Provencal troubadors.
The dance of Thanks and Givens
The words of Thanks,
Voiced to Givens sincerely,
not with coerced angst
Little Givens, He looks at earnestly
takes her to his side
embraces her gratefully
Arms stretched apart, wide,
Thanks leads Little Givens in a dance
of boundless gratitude and pride
He moves ahead, with forceful prance
to take Little Givens in his arms;
His steps purposeful, enhanced
Their dance, one of timeless charm
Soulful celebration of existence
Thanks kisses, admiring, Givens' palm.
She puts up no resistance,
With each other, keep no distance.
Being appreciative of the things we have rather than focusing on the things we do not always leads to bigger and better things.
I would like to thank the authors who answered the question “What are the reasons we take things for granted?” Each writer expressed wonderful thoughts on this question. Do take the time to pay them a visit.
Original work by Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin
Copyright All Rights Reserved
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