Uproot the bitterness

One of my favorite sayings is, “Bitterness cannot be rooted in a grateful heart.”

When we are grateful, amazed and open to the wonders of the world around us, it is very difficult to harbor resentment and bitterness toward our fellow human beings. We recognize, instead, that humans are complex creatures with rich and varied stories and that most do the best they can with what they have.

Bitterness gets in the way of life. Like a sour taste in our mouth, bitterness interferes with our ability to detect the sweetness, the specialness of a meal or a moment or a memory.

We have to make a definitive choice to wash away that bitter flavor. Twelve step programs require the listing of resentments and the making of amends as an aid to exchanging bitterness for joy. This is one model that we can adopt when trying to turn over a new leaf.

One simple practice that can get us looking at the world in a different way is the writing of a gratitude list. Obvious items on such a list include life, health, breath, sunshine and family.

As we tune in to the majesties of creation, we may come up with more specific and creative items for our list. Some favorites are the blue-green color of my daughter’s eyes, the dimple on my son’s cheek, the strong, warm feel of my husband’s fingers when we hold hands, and the sound of my sister’s laugh through the phone line.

When we pay attention to what we like about life, loved ones and the world around us, we suddenly have less time for bitterness and resentment and anger. The roots of bitterness grow weak, and the sour taste fades from our mouth.


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