I wish I had the time and space to really get into the nitty gritty here....but hopefully it is enough to say...gratitude has lifted me out of self pitying depression, renewed and repaired relationships, opened doors to new people and new opportunities. I have learned to, whenever I feel stress, sadness, anger to stop and reflect on what I do have to be thankful for. Being mindful of how much I have to be grateful for has brought joy and light and love to my life.
It makes me HAPPY.
"Although we have been made to believe that if we let go we will end up with nothing, life reveals just the opposite: that letting go is the real path to freedom." -Sogyal Rinpoche Glimpse After Glimpse
"I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing." – Rabbi Hillel
That one is easy. Since I have become conscious about being grateful, I find less "wrong" with the world. I may see things I don't like, but I feel less threatened more empowered.
I've also noticed that the more grateful I am, the more to be grateful for that comes into my life. Maybe I just notice it more whereas before I was blind to it. I'm not sure, but I like it!
Being grateful has made me less stressed, more patient, more understanding, less rigid and even a little more trusting.
What I can say for certain, is that gratitude has had a number of positive impacts in my life. I have yet to find a negative one so for that I am also grateful. I start every day thinking about things I'm grateful for and I end the day the same way. I've found my mornings happier and my nights more restful.
"In greater terms positive and negative have little meaning, for the physical experience is meant as a learning one. " The Nature Of Personal Reality: Seth by Jane Roberts
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I cannot even begin to express how my focus on gratitude has changed my life, but I will try.
When I started this practice, my brother-in-law had just been diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma. It should be noted here that I nearly raised my younger sister and we have always been very close (let's just say we didn't have a good childhood and leave it at that; I was the oldest and 8 years older than her, so for many years, was more of a mother than a sister). She met my brother-in-law, Tom, when she was 16 years old and when he was diagnosed, they were a few months shy of their 20th anniversary. He was the only man she had ever dated.
In the midst of making 2 emergency trips from Kansas City to California as he was treated at the City of Hope medical facilities, I was trying with every part of me to be supportive of my sister as her world was being ripped apart. Her husband was in the ICU more than once over a 2-month period. I would just sit in the ICU waiting room waiting for her to come out whenever she took breaks. I made trips to a little store they had at the hospital and would get her bananas and anything else healthy that I could find that I could save for her to eat on her ICU breaks. To this day, we still occasionally tell each other to eat a banana, but now we can at least smile when we say it.
I had to leave her twice in the midst of this to return to my job, which just killed me. When I had to go, I would hug her and tell her to breathe, eat and hope. Then I would come back to Kansas City and feel pretty helpless, so I coordinated with City of Hope staff and started a blood and platelet drive for Tom via e-mail.
Tom died 8 weeks after he was diagnosed when the chemo treatment caused a lung to collapse. Then more challenges came as my sister was a social worker not making much money in the LA area and Tom had been unable to get more than a $10,000 life insurance policy because he had hepatitis C. He had been the one who really earned the money and they had purchased a home about 4 years earlier, so house payments had to be made. It was a huge struggle. I helped my sister financially every month for nearly two years.
If I had not been involved in my practice of gratitude, I don't know how I would have survived all of this. It was a horrible period of time for my family and six years later, we're still seeing some of it. Because of this practice, I was able to put my focus on what I/we DID have instead of what we had lost. Sadly, my sister didn't have this in her, so I also had to deal with her anger (rightfully so and part of the process), debilitating grief, her disconnects, and much more. On her 40th birthday, she was flying back to Kansas City by herself to bury her husband.
I should add to this story by also sharing that it was about this time that I starting getting to know Maha and learning about the support we provide each other in this practice, in so many ways. Maha sent me CDs of Stephen Levine on healing meditations for the grief process. Her support, and those meditations, also helped me get through that horrible ordeal.
Ever since Kathy formed this group (how long has it been, AT?), I have both started and ended my day by focusing on what I have to be grateful for. As some of you know, I start each morning on Rebecca's thread - December 2012 Gratitudes - Welcome - and then end my day posting on this team board. By doing this, I feel that I start my day with an attitude of gratitude, and then end my day, and set my dreams, to also follow an attitude of gratitude. Occasionally, if I'm super busy, I will alternate days in each place, but this is my MO. It works well for me.
I have had the pleasure of meeting Maha, Kathy (our fearless leader here) and Rebecca (our fearless leader on her message board) in person. When you meet somebody in person that you have shared all of these things with on a daily basis, it's like you already know that person. It's an incredible experience.
I am eternally grateful for each and every one of you - for sharing your thoughts, your lives, your dreams, your heartbreaks, your fears, your journeys - for it is in doing so that you enrich my own life and my own practice of gratitude. And with this, I bow in gratitude to each of you for being part of this.
Wishing you all of the joys of a peaceful holiday season ...
It seems to help me quiet that voice in my head that anticipates bad situations. And I think it helps me stop cursing the bad situations - unleashed and untrained dogs on my walk to work, people running red lights and stop signs- a little more quickly. Maybe one of these days instead of wishing the dog owners and bad drivers all the ills of the world I'll evolve into wishing them increased respect for the rest of us. It's a goal....
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