2, Jun, 2012

Conscious Practice of Gratitude


img0043Conscious practice of gratitude is changing my attitude and I’m feeling the benefits! I’m working a 28-day gratitude makeover program, inspired by Rhonda Byrne’s book, “The Magic.” I finished Day 7 and am on to Day 8. Gratitude has been my mainline, my go to emotion since I got into recovery in 1995, and it always gets me through any rough spot, crisis, or difficulty. When we celebrate every single thing we possess, earn or receive, knowing that life is a gift, the positive energy generated from this practice opens doors and reveals opportunities.

During the past several months, I’ve set new goals, both short term and long term, for myself. I’ve been working hard on a number of projects. My husband got diagnosed with cancer and he began a program of meditation and visualization, coupled with traditional medical treatment. Always the plucky fighter, I stepped up to care for, support, encourage and nurture him through his course of treatment. The results stunned us — and his physician: post-surgery, his scans came back clear, and now, eight weeks out from surgery his tests show he’s cancer-free. Of course I’m thrilled — and grateful. Who wouldn’t be?

But during the past couple of weeks, in spite of the fantastic health news, I started feeling overwhelmed about finances and all my goals and found myself complaining and making negative projections in my head. Fatigue and frustration stalked my days and nights. I found myself wondering why nothing seemed like fun anymore. Then I remembered my gratitude path. I started thinking of all the things that are going right and all the stuff I’ve survived and overcome and escaped and triumphed over. My mood picked up a bit, but not all the way. On a visit to a copy store, I noticed Byrnes’ book in the impulse aisle. I picked it up, read a few pages and realized the entire book is about the magic of gratitude, and immediately purchased the book even though at that moment I was extremely anxious about money.

The idea of working a 28-day gratitude life makeover appeals to me right now, so I started working the program she recommends. The exercises are simple and easy to integrate into a daily work schedule. Each day I’m focusing on a different aspect of life and consciously practice gratitude for that particular thing. One day it’s relationships, another day it’s finances, today is giving thanks for food and water. The amount of things I’ve unconsciously take for granted is staggering! Now my vision is correcting itself and I’m seeing life in a whole new way. I recently experienced some really difficult situations and immediately I recognized them as new opportunities to respond with gratitude and enthusiasm. And in the crisis, I found myself appreciating other people and noticing more things that I’d previously taken for granted. If I’m not actively noticing and appreciating everything around me, I’m taking things for granted. Now I’m noticing more and more miracles in life, moment by moment.

Energy, creativity and inspiration give me strength and hope. As I practice gratitude I experience all of those things more often and more consistently. I’m discovering new ways to instill confidence in myself and others, and my physical body feels energized and relaxed. I’m starting to understand what Bruce Lee said about limitations — “If you always put a limit on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits, only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” There’s another thing to be grateful for! I’m grateful to Bruce Lee, for being such a fierce, brave example of human potential, and for making such a positive, bold statement. Oh yeah, and thanks, Rhonda Byrne for your book. Now to push on toward those goals…

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