We've all heard that we should be grateful, and most of the time, perhaps we are. We don't live in mud huts, we have clean, running water that comes to us in pipes right into our homes, we have shoes on our feet, beds to sleep in and a roof over our head.
COUNT OUR BLESSINGS
Most of us have food in our belly's when we are hungry, which is more than we can say for too large a percentage of the population on earth. We should count our blessings right? How about counting our challenges?
When I lost the ability to do my job and hence my income after my first spine surgery, I was incredibly grateful that I had family and friends who loved me and expressed their concern by generously raising enough money to sustain me for over a year. I was grateful to learn how to receive.
When I had to sell my car as my funds ran out, I was grateful for my feet, for the bus, for my partner, Dad, Mom, son, family and special friends who took me to doctor appointments and to the store. Mom gave me months of her time to care for me and our family after my second surgery. Friends baby sat me, planted a garden for me, made me French toast, dropped off food and were on call to help. My dear friend Kathleen, gave me her car. Really? She gave me her car??? What absolute miracles!
COUNTING OUR CHALLENGES
Those are always high places of gratitude that leave me feeling like I should never moan. Counting my blessings seem abundant, but how 'bout counting my challenges? How about being grateful for every one of those? I am grateful that my life crashed, that I broke into a million pieces and that I am who I am now, after picking up the pieces I wanted, and leaving behind the ones that I no longer needed... Bless them.
I say thank you, thank you, thank you, as a new habit I am forming... Even when someone is snappy or lost their head, being mean or selfish, curses at me on the road, I'm looking at bills that far outweigh the income, I say "Thank you."
ACCEPTING WHAT IS
If for no other reason, saying thank you builds new neuro-pathways that help me to accept "WHAT IS" faster, and leads me to peace, sooner. Saying thank you, helps me to stop my knee jerk reaction, (which is to resist and be fearful,) instead it keeps me open; open to the blessings, open to the gifts, open to the lessons. I gave a card to my son that had a picture of lemon merengue on the front, in it I wrote, "When life gives you lemon merengue, remember who awesome the lemons are." I mean it.
ANGRY, HURT AND SCARED
Even if I am angry, I say an internal, "thank you." If I am scared, hurt, reactive, if I acted out or lacked restraint, I say thank you. My response may be neanderthal; my anger, fear, bad behavior may seem immature, but somewhere in there, is a communication for me. I may be looking for a more mature way to get some need met, to be honored, to find a boundary.
There have been moments when I have had so much anger coursing through my veins, and I didn't do a very good job at restraining my reaction. When I say thank you to it anyway, I can question what there is to be thankful for. Perhaps I didn't like how I was being treated and my bad behavior was a poor attempt at a boundary. What's good about that is that I have a sense of self love that wants respect.
CLEAN IT UP
So, I've had to clean it up later... yes! But then I was able to ask myself, "how, in the future, can I request kinder treatment from another, while also acting with some self respect?" Next time, I will take a breath and in a respectful way, ask for kinder communication, admit that I am sensitive to their tone, admit that I have a place in me of trauma that just got activated that I need to manage, or take a break. If I feel upset, I can learn to love and tend to my needs while retaining my dignity with another.
EXPRESS WHAT I WANT
I may not be able to be mature in every situation, but I will thank it as an alarm clock reminding me that there is some value trying to express itself through me or something that I am wanting or needing and that this is another opportunity to grow.
TAKE ON A NEW HABIT
Perhaps you too can take on saying Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.. even if you don't figure out what there is to be thankful for. The act itself, has a biological reaction that causes a shift. And remember, when you eat...
Take small bites! Chew well! Enjoy!