A couple of weeks ago I shared with you that I wasn’t always a gratitude-based person. Today I’m going to share something equally as personal. Even I can fall off the gratitude track from time to time!
How does this happen? We all live such busy, busy lives. And life is filled with things that can cause stress or create fear – even if two moments before, we were in a place of gratitude.
My life is less hectic than the lives many people have. I live in a beautiful space, in a wonderful part of the country. My office and home sit on a two acre sanctuary for birds and butterflies, squirrels and chipmunks. I’m surrounded by various shades of green waiting to unfurl into splashes of bright color once spring arrives. And even in my least favorite season of winter, I leave my house five days a week and walk to my small office, marveling at the way spikes and branches and dormant grasses of grays and browns are capped with white crystals of snow. I can’t imagine the stress I’d have living in the city where things zip by so quickly they’re almost a blur, but I can appreciate that some people thrive in that environment and would be bored out of their gourd where I reside. So I’ve been able to make a life that is structured to bring me serenity and calm, and still I have my moments of stress.
We get busy with our work and with life and something happens and it’s easy to slip into panic mode. The difference between then and now for me, is that it’s so much easier to get back on the gratitude track than it once was. In the old days, it might take a week or two to stop the hand-wringing and stressing out about outcomes over which I have no control. Now it’s no more than a day and in most cases, it’s only a few hours.
What am I doing differently? I realize quickly that I’m worrying about something and my focus is misdirected. I take ten minutes to stop what I’m doing, close my eyes and go to that happy place filled with gratitude. I think about all the blessings I have and all that I’m grateful for. I think about things that make me happy – and become even giddy with joy. If after that I return to worry, instead of keeping it all to myself as I once may have done, I’ll drop a quick note to one of my friends to tell them, “I had a slip today with worry and fear creeping in.” And those friends reach out to remind me of what I already know, but put aside to make room for worry and fear. They remind me that Spirit has taken me through real hardships – that I am a WARRIOR and my shield is gratitude. They remind me that even though I’m fearful of X, that I’m ignoring Q, R, S, T, U, V and W, which are evidence that X isn’t going to be the dreadful thing I’ve made it out to be.
When you get busy and forget the truth about your life, it’s easy to fall off the Gratitude track. Take some time to get back on it as quickly as possible and you’ll see what a difference it makes in your life.
Deborah Perdue, RScP
Author of “Daily Gratitude Reflections” and “Grace of Gratitude Journal”
Center for Spiritual Living
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