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Feeling gratitude in the face of adversity

gratitude life's lessons Oct 05, 2020
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." 
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) 35th President of the United States

I have written in my gratitude journal every night for that last few years. It has become a ritual that I do last thing before climbing under the duvet. 

I start with the date and then write 'I am so grateful for:', followed a list of at least five things that I am grateful for that happened in my day. It is a wonderful way to connect back with things that have made me feel good and really notice the blessings that are present.

I encourage all my clients to do this exercise, some are better than others at keeping the routine...

I caught up with one client, who asked to pause her private sessions during lockdown as her hubby was put on furlough and funds were tight, a few months later. I was a little worried about her as she had come to me seeking help with depression and I wasn't sure that lockdown and no sessions was a good mix..

On catching up she sounded amazing, bright, joyful and very bubbly - perfect! and such a relief. We talked about how things were going and how she was coping and I was surprised but delighted with her answer.

The thing that has made the biggest difference and that she has continued is her gratitude journal. She explained that during the day she is always looking for the magical moments that she can capture that evening in her journal. It has changed her total outlook on life and she is so grateful for something so seemingly small and simple to have created such a big positive impact on her outlook and life in general.

This story has been on my list to capture for a while as it is so special and really highlights the value of consistency and how we can take control and make a big difference to our outlook, attitude and lives, with some small tweaks in our habits and behaviours.

I have started reading The Magic, by Rhonda Byrne, and it is magical...

It is about gratitude and really feeling the experience of the moment, event, discussion, activity, etc that you are grateful for and then giving heartfelt thanks.

There is a 30-day program that you can follow, which I have started, and the first exercise was to capture 10 things that you are really grateful for. So my minimum of 5 has become 10 and the way of capturing has been expanded....

The type of example is:

  • I am truly blessed to have      what?    , because      why?    .
  • I am so happy and grateful for      what?    , because      why?    .
  • I am truly grateful for      what?    , because      why?    .

Then after making your list each day, go back and read each one. At the end of each blessing, say the magic words three time thank you, thank you, thank you.

And, let me tell you, it really felt amazing! As I was reading through my list and say thank you I became aware of further things that I wanted to add to my list... It just grew and my feeling of love and gratitude expanded bigger than I've felt for a long time. I was actually taking time to feel and spend precious moments really enjoying that feeling and saying thank you with deep meaning.

How often do we thank someone for something they have done, or given us, but almost on autopilot? It isn't that we don't mean it, but we have become conditioned to respond in such a way and whilst it feels good it isn't anything like the feeling I experienced during this exercise...

So I ended my day yesterday on a total high and it carried over into this morning. I paused and noticed things, which I am used to doing anyway, but then I felt the gratitude and gave thanks for the moment. 

I have felt awesome and as bright and light as the day is today.

I took Alicia to school this morning and on the way home I witnessed an accident whilst I was sitting at the traffic lights waiting for our turn. That sickening sound of metal crumpling. I felt it right in my core. Having been in a few accidents over the years that sound is awfully real and terrible.

I looked around and couldn't see any apparent collision. I was turning left into the spur of a T-junction. All the traffic around me still seemed to be sitting in the correct place and the moving vehicles were continuing up the road. So what had happened?

The lights changed and it became obvious. A vehicle had failed to turn right and tumbled down the embankment, a drop of 15-20 feet. I felt sick.

I was committed to turn left and it was not possible to get into the lane to go straight and then turn right to double back on the lower road. I continued knowing that there were many people who had seen the incident and who were in a position to be able to respond immediately.

It was an awful decision as I always want to help, it is in my DNA. 

I have no idea what really happened but I heard, and felt, the awful moment. I sent healing and love to those involved and those able to respond and continued home.

I needed to stand outside and just be in the garden, connected to the Earth and in the sunshine while I brought my energy back to me. I looked for the gratitude as this has been my exercise and initially was struck by the familiar feeling that I have always felt was 'my right', that whenever I feel amazingly happy and content something will happen to wipe that feeling away. This is a fear that I became aware of a few weeks back and relates to my childhood. It wasn't something that others intentionally bestowed on me but something that I took to expect.

My immediate reaction was to retreat into that space of "I don't deserve to feel this good". But with breathing and awareness of this feeling and response, I was able to look for the blessings and feel that instead with deep gratitude.

I am so very grateful that 

  1. I was not involved in the accident
  2. It appears that this didn't involve many vehicles
  3. There were plenty of people around who could get to the scene very quickly
  4. The hospital is relatively close by and the emergency services would be on the scene quickly as many people would have been able to alert them
  5. There were plenty of witnesses to help the police etc with their investigations
  6. And finally, that I have had a test, for myself, that I am able to enjoy (aka worthy of having) a wonderful day and for other things to happen around me that do not need to take away the feeling of gratitude for that beautiful experience.

It always helps to remember that we have a choice on how we react/respond to any situation. Even when things are tough out there, look for the silver lining and grow the energy of abundance and thanks for all the lessons we are being exposed too.

As humans we are amazing capable of far more than we could ever imagine. Stretch your boundaries, consciously, notice and enjoy the feelings of realisation that you are capable with immense gratitude.

Have a blessed and wonderful day.

You are awesome!
Be grateful for who you are and the wonderful life you are living.
Remember that we are never given anything to deal with that we are not ready, and capable, of handling.
The tough times make us stronger and teach us something that will help us, and others, in due course.

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