In my journey to self, I began a gratitude practice. By this I mean that no matter what is going on, I look for something I can appreciate about it. When I started out, it was not an easy thing to do. I was so used to looking at things from the outside, at feeling that I was a victim of circumstance.
Then came two defining incidents.
On an Oprah Winfrey show, Sara Ban Breathnach spoke about gratitude. She suggested that we begin by writing down at least five things we were grateful for–nothing should be considered too small. I started writing down a couple of things a day, simple stuff like, I am grateful for Starbucks café soy latte or I am grateful for the friends I have or I am grateful I live in NYC. Soon two things became five then ten and sometimes even 15. It’s not really important how many things or what I am grateful for; it’s that I began to focus my attention on being grateful.
What’s not to be grateful for when you’re on vacation and it’s gloriously sunny every single day? That’s easy. Now what happens if your wish for leisurely vacation days at the beach, soaking up the rays are altered by rainy days? Before my gratitude practice, I would not be a happy camper. With my gratitude practice I realized that finding the value in the lemon is much more fun and I could be grateful for disappointing experiences. Besides what’s the use in complaining about what happens to be a fact. Being able to look at circumstances through a prizm of gratitude has changed everything for me.
The next incident came in the form of a health challenge. When I needed surgery that would end the chances of me ever having children, I considered what I might be grateful for. It didn’t change the fact that I needed the surgery or that I was anxious about what the doctor might find or that I would never be a Mom. Instead I was grateful that I was in the hands of the most amazing doctor who spent all the time I needed to make me feel comfortable with the procedure. I was grateful that I had family and friends who were there for me as I faced this decision and would be there for me as I recovered. The payoff is this practice allows me to be present to the magic of the moments of life and to experience Freedom!
“Having an attitude of gratitude at all times presences us to the value of life’s events.”
~ Donna Marie ~