gratitude

Thank you Facebook for finally catching on. I was over posts of food pictures the first time I saw one. I’d much prefer the use of media to be positive. Perhaps if we all focused on posting things that are of substance, we might actually be the change we want to see in the world. Instead of hitting on people you knew ten years ago or sharing the horrors, we can collectively share some joy.

I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised that social media would take a hot minute to catch on to the happy posts. It took me years to learn that expressing gratitude can make such a huge difference in me, my life and the world.

Did I always have things to be grateful for? Sure did.

Was I happy? Yes.

Did I always express them? No.

My prayers were always a laundry list of wants. Every day was like a wish list. (I didn’t actually pray every day.) Then there were the bargaining prayers: God if you give me ______ I will never ______. Or I’ll change this if you ________(fill in the blank).

What was I thinking?

I was thinking I was 17 and I wanted a BMW. That’s what. I wondered why I still felt empty inside. I’m grateful today for my awareness—I’m grateful for much than I can type in 900 words.

Trying to find something to be grateful for every day is something I’ve found indispensable to me. I wonder what would happen if everyone did this every day?

Here’s what a daily list does for me…and I’ve been doing it for over 20 years.

It allows a shift in my perception. It allows me to see the good in things—and when I focus on the good how can I manifest the bad?

I suppose it could happen but since I’m not dabbling in black magic or conjuring demons I’m going to with it won’t.

My life isn’t perfect. It has it’s ups and downs…financial struggles…financial gains…matters of the heart happen…then don’t happen…then happen again. I have been through health issues, loss, and traumas.

I’ve been fortunate to overcome them.

I was a female Johnny Cash—I had the dress in black thing down. My life was four seconds away from becoming a bad country song. I was so negative; now, I see it in others. I see it in friend’s faces. I see it on my Facebook feed. I see the doubt, worry, concern. Some fears are realistic and need to be addressed but those aren’t the ones I mean. I’m talking about the tiny speck of a fear that can snowball out of control until you feel paralyzed.

I don’t like the snow. I don’t want to build a snow fort. And although I don’t have a fireplace, I do have heat and I’m thankful for that.

I still have fear, I still have doubts—believe me. Earlier today, I was forced to say an out loud, on the spot gratitude list while driving. (Yes, I was indeed talking to myself in the car like Suzy Banana Cakes.) The list allowed me to take a deep breath and stay away from that fucking snowball.

Ironically, this weekend will be the coldest we have had thus far.

Finding things to be grateful for every day has given me the gift of leaning towards faith—well, not every moment—but a really good part of the time. Every so often I need a tiny kick in the shin over to get me to cross that invisible line I’ve drawn between fear and faith. As I said, negative Nancy. Totally present and waiting for misery. That was my M.O.

I am able now, when something is removed from my life, to see a bit of the bigger picture. Instead of mourning or grieving that thing that was removed, I see hope and potential. I see opportunity. Sometimes this process involves meditation. Other times it involves chocolate and dancing alone in my living room with a paper towel roll as a microphone. (Don’t judge.)

At the end of it all, I get to see the universe pushing me to take a chance instead of wondering why I am being punished.

I am no spiritual leader—I’m just a woman trying to make it through this weird, crazy and blessed life. I battle every day with my demons. When I stay in gratitude, this bizzare phenomenon that I choose to call faith, the fight can be won.

I challenge you to find five things to be grateful for.

They don’t have to be huge. As I said, it’s about perspective. Post them here in the comments if you want—I’d honestly love to see a thread of pure appreciation. How cool would that be?

I’ll throw you five of mine, vulnerability and all:

I’m grateful that my father is cancer-free and that I get to be his daughter.

I’m grateful that I no longer live by my intentions.

I’m grateful that even on days that terrify me, I can still muster up some sort of faith.

I’m grateful that I have a place to share my experience…that every so often, I’m left a comment that my words have helped someone.

I’m grateful for my best friend; for her support, her strength, and for being there for me for the past 18 years.

My hope for you is that you find that comfort in thankfulness and live in that state of being as often as you can.

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