I began my daily practice of gratitude years ago when I went through a rough time in life and I hit my bottom. I wasn’t suicidal per se, but I was ready to accept death if it happened.
Beginning my daily practice of finding something that made me smile (which is actually very hard to do when you’re as depressed and hopeless as I was), and a gratitude list is what showed me my courage – and that led me to my strength.
What and who I was grateful for just a few years ago were very different than what I express now. Looking back I wrote things like: my dog made a funny look on her face today when she pooped in the neighbors tree box – that made me smile. … Because of those silly things, in time I started to laugh.
I do have to be an active participant in my journey. And having someone, or a group of people, helping me is even better, sometimes even a blessing. I was on my healing journey and at a point where I wanted my body to be strong again – I needed my body to feel strong again – so that emotionally I could feel strong and find courage to keep trying for what I wanted. Around this time I met a personal trainer that I could not afford, but I managed to squeek out a few sessions with him – enough to take some notes, to feel some inspiration, and I created a plan and routine for myself. This also helped me realize that I once had the ability to do this for myself, only I had forgotten.
Forgetting how to take care of yourself is very humbling. It only takes one small gesture, and then your whole world begins to change. Sometimes people see, and so they help. Others, like GB the personal trainer probably never knew what was driving me those few times we met. But I was with myself 100% of the time. I cannot even begin to sit here and write out the many ways I have grown since then. Hell, I probably don’t even know them all myself – these are the sorts of things that trickle out over time. Making the connections is the importance of the lesson, and then doing something with what you learned.
I still need to actively seek gratitude and courage. I have to remember. I still need to be conscious of when I’m not smiling. I still need to find my patterns. These things truly keep my head on straight. It’s about priority and it’s about choice. Because I want life experience. A better one. I want happiness. I want to feel joy. I don’t want to feel hurt. I don’t want to feel wounded. So I practice – daily. And now when you look at my list, you will find entries like: I am grateful for meeting RB – she is such an inspiration, and because of her I can see things in a new way, and I feel better.
Isn’t it remarkable how you find what you need when you need it, not even yet fully realizing what it will ultimately give you?! Sometimes it may take years and many cycles of something working itself out to realize what a gift it truly is. You do have to be an active participant in your journey, all the time.
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