A dear friend of mine explained some things to me over dinner the other evening. She told me she drew strength from my strength over this year. Her being such a capable, creative and beautiful person, I took this as an amazing compliment. In our conversation, she observed how she had personally struggled with being down, and was looking for a way out to something better. She met with a counselor who jarred her into turning from seeing the sadness and moving toward gratitude instead.
I've wondered since our conversation if I had I put this principle intentionally into practice myself during my rough patch. After consideration, I think I have. From the start of August 23, 2009, I adopted a way to make gratitude a way of living. I realized fearful, hopeless, or blaming thoughts could get stuck me in the mud, spinning my wheels madly over something or someone I could not change. So, I began to take the proverb of "No one can change anyone else. One can only change oneself." to heart. In fact, I bought myself a ring to replace my wedding band with the Ghandi quote, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
Here's something of the thought life plan I implemented. If I was stuck and finally realized it, I'd identify the feeling. Next, I'd examine it (if I had the luxury of time) and allow myself to say, "Yes, this hurts. I'm angry or incredibly sad that I'm in this position." I understood if I ignored the feeling, that it stayed with me- stuffed waiting like a snake in the bushes to strike at the next person who irritated an already irritable me. Next, I'd capture the thought each time it came again, and sent it away more and more quickly. Usually, I prayed for a "what next?" step to take instead. For example, a thought of one of the participants in the demise of my marriage would haunt and I'd find myself trapped in "what I'd tell them if..." I'd take time to get to the bottom of the feeling, sad, mad, hurt and allow myself to feel it, "Is this what you wanted for me God? Do these people not understand what they have wrought with their hands? I am angry for what they have done to me personally. How could..." Eventually, I'd realize how no good fruit could come of the thought, much less the action, and I'd say, "God, what should I work on next?". The answers were simple, "True, cull your all your stuff. Everything you keep will be something you'll have to care for besides your children. Things all need attention and these precious people will need all you've got." This was a big work, a long work, consuming....daunting at times. I goodwilled a googob of boxes, bags, and sold precious books thinking of a simple life with my children in the center. This active process took my mind quickly from revenge toward creating my own beautiful life.
When I've found myself down, I'll journal new things I wish to make of my life, or I'll return to previous notes I've made and work toward them. It's a way to be active for my own good. So, in a way, I set myself toward the positive, which I believe is related toward gratitude.
I am so very grateful for all that I am and have.
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