If you are anything like me, then you may know what extended periods of loss and grief are like and how continuing to live in that emotional realm of “my life is meant to suffer”, only breeds more apathy.
It was during a time like this when I read a quote of something Oprah said, and it pinged my intuition and got me to think about the direction of my focus.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”.
― Oprah Winfrey
On the Richter scale of loss and crushing grief, I’m sure my life was at least at a 9.1.
Losing my marriage, my dogs, my house, then my dad, my godmother, and my uncle…all back to back in a seven year period, fueled my extreme lack of faith, my lack of trust, and my lack of knowing the next steps to take.
It was hard not to focus on anything other than the barren land of my lack.
In fact, I’d been told by others who know me well that “you’re really hard on yourself”, because I kept focusing on the feelings buried in me as the reverberations of my losses.
For years, I put those lack vibes out to the universe.
Knowing the mind is a muscle with neural pathways that connect with highway speed, my brain had to be retrained, to believe and know that thoughts do become things. I had to start being more grateful.
It was a slow beginning and not always a happy one, say similar to beginning a new habit of flossing my teeth (I know it is good for me, but….), when I’d get tripped up and back into my old habits safe on my couch not wanting to move or talk to anyone. I wanted to stay small, safe, and, apparently, miserable.
I instinctively knew the result of harvesting the harshest of emotional insecurities, is nothing but bitter crops.
I told myself, “Jenn, plant new seeds”.
This was the moment I decided to start my gratitude journal practice and I started basic. “I appreciate having all my teeth” (remember the floss thing) and “I appreciate having two hands and feet that work”.
I then took it to the hospital. Being a nurse, I certainly began to appreciate things my patients represented. “Ah, I can be grateful for clean underwear” and “I live pain free”!
Then I took it everywhere I went.
It became infectious and why not have some real fun being grateful!
“I’m so grateful someone built and maintains this hiking trail”. “I’m so grateful and humbled that someone else had to learn which plants were toxic in order for me to be knowledgeable to avoid eating them today”. “I am so thankful someone took an egg that comes from a chicken’s butt and added it to flour; let us eat cake”!
Changing perspective to see all the abundance of beauty and good in the world, despite personal circumstances, helped my mental outlook and overall mood.
The science of gratitude does prove that it helps reduce a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from resentment to frustration and regret.
That’s good medicine!
Today I blend my personal circumstances with overall gratitude and abundance available to me.
I appreciate the sun streaming through the window and the warmth of the air, as I rest my tired body.
I appreciate my moments of anxiety and how it’s an internal GPS system letting me know when things are off course and what to avoid.
I am grateful for the failed relationships of my past, for all they taught me and helped me become. I love the beauty of all who have come before me and the world I now live in created by their efforts, dreams, and visions.
Instead of bitter crops, I now grow gratitude; the loveliest of blossoms that flowers from the soul.
If you are really honest with yourself, where are you feeling lack in your life right now and how can you cultivate more gratitude?
I challenge you to recognizing all you have to be thankful for, even during the worst and most “lost filled” times of your life.
Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have, rather than focus on all the things you think you deserve.
Begin today. Start a practice to write down your own personal list of things you are grateful for. Science shows us that even a five-minute a week gratitude journal can make you so much happier.
The actual gratitude produced during those five minutes is small, but the emotions of gratitude felt during those five-minutes are enough to trigger a grateful mood.
Do it for yourself.
Raise your vibration and begin to vibrate with gratitude for the abundance truly in your life.