So much of what is reported in the media are expressions of lack, of how wrong things are. There are shocking things happening both to and by ordinary people, and to and by governments and leaders. Yet if this is what we focus on day in and day out, it becomes what our lives are about. This is not what I want for myself or anyone else.
A few weeks ago I woke up feeling how blessed I am. I remember thinking, ‘This is how I want to start every day.’ Not by pretending that life is all roses and chocolates and kisses, but by recognizing all the roses, chocolates and kisses that are in my day-to-day life.
There have been choices in my life that have profoundly changed my life’s direction–choices of moving, work, friendships–each of which involved both loss and gain. I have done better when, while handling the losses, I could also recognize the gains.
I am getting better at remembering it is more my attitude that defines how I experience things, than the external events. Of course I get triggered hearing of tragedies, abuse and scams, or when those close to me get hurt, suffer loss or die. I would not be human nor caring if I didn’t feel these.
Yet when I pay attention, I have a choice; run with the fear, anger and sadness or not. I was taking the above photo when my dog Cheerios yanked on her leash, causing me to drop and break my cell phone. I was pissed. But then I remembered the new one I had been researching. Now I tell people Cheerios got me a new cell phone for my birthday.
I am still dealing with the consequences of that loss–tech and technicians can be frustrating. Nevertheless I choose to recognize and focus on the blessings such as a larger screen, better camera, better battery, etc. Life is more enjoyable this way.
I’m not ignoring what has gone wrong; I still have to pay for the new phone. Yet difficulties have a tendency to bring attention to themselves without me having to add anything. I will deal with them; I just refuse to let them define me.
For many months now, I have had a gratitude partner. We text each other daily, three things for which we are grateful. Sometimes they are profound, sometimes silly; yet each day we re-enforce our ability to recognize what goes right. It is a simple yet powerful technique that helps us remember our blessings regardless of what else is going on in our lives and the world.