In my last blog, I talked about finding the silver lining. One of the things I love about a gratitude practice is that being grateful never fails to pick me up. One of my earlier mentors, Katherine, would remind me to be grateful for everything even the FGOs. The latter two letters stand for Growth Opportunities.
It definitely took work on my part to be able to see what there was to be grateful for in the variety of chaos that I called my life back in those days. How could I be grateful for an ugly break up with my daughter’s father after 11 years, my broken down car, another burst water pipe as well as numerous other occurrences that seemed to plague me? I had to look very hard and practice before I was able to truly appreciate what a gift these things were. Sometimes, it was in the aftermath that I was able to see how much better things turned out. At other times, I became aware that being grateful seemed to open other doors for me. Doors that would have remained closed (or perhaps would just be invisible to me) if I hadn’t moved out of victimhood and into gratitude.
Gratitude was a game changer for me! I was really able to put it to the test when my house burned down. At that time, we literally had just the clothes on our backs. Due to work and school we had to stay in or close to town. That meant that during this time at least briefly my daughter stayed with a girlfriend’s family in town and I stayed with friends in the city I worked. The first few days I struggled to move past the poor me mind set. When I did things rapidly began to change. We found an apartment in town that would take us (and all of our pets) on a month-to-month agreement. The president of my bank personally oversaw the reconstruction funds held in escrow. I had no idea how meaningful the latter was going to be. It saved me time, money and finished completely. Even now as I ponder the entire event I’m flooded with gratitude for all the players that made our house a newer improved version.
I was and am grateful for the little things that came into play like having a cell phone when it was a rarity in 1993 or having a 50 foot extension cord on the house phone or the independent insurance adjuster that arrived at our burning house in a snow storm before I even arrived and of course the safety of my girls who were home at the time. There was so very much to be grateful for and doing so took away some of the sting from the temporary loss of our home.
Gratitude is more than just being thankful. It is a key to a different kind of life. Do you have any stories about gratitude? I’d love to hear them. How has gratitude changed your experience? What would you tell someone else about gratitude? Do you have a daily gratitude practice? What benefits have you seen from it? Please contact me Lucinda@lucindasmith.com with your story or we can schedule a time to talk.