Transformation: A miracle of gratitude

“As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world.” ~Terri Guillemets

I truly have so much in my life to be thankful for. The more I am paying attention to these things for which I am grateful, the more things I seem to find that merit gratitude. And the more I find, the more I think of gratitude throughout the day, which leads to noticing even more things for which to be grateful. It’s really a most lovely cycle.

I am still doing my formal gratitude practice every evening—writing down five things from my day for which I am grateful and one thing for which I am proud of myself. It takes only a few minutes each day right before I fall into bed. It often feels like a chore when I’m doing it because it is keeping me awake a few extra moments.

I still sometimes struggle to come up with my five things, and I seldom feel an outpouring of gratitude while I’m writing the list. From that measure, it would seem like my practice is a failure.

On the other hand, I now rather frequently find myself bubbling over with gratitude and joy during the day. (Let me just note that this is not a normal thing for me prior to the start of my gratitude practice. In fact, I was quite often rather negative!)

It’s often little things that bring me such delight: a good bowl of soup, the vivid colors of the fall leaves, the joy of comfortable shoes, the steam rising off a hot cup of tea, a kind email from a friend, the amazing blue of the sky on sunny fall days, melted butter on a hot piece of good bread, fuzzy warm sweaters, shared laughter at a funny situation. Those are the things that I am noticing more and more in the moment and still forgetting so often in my sleepy list-making before bed.

All of those are things that have been there all along; I’m just finally noticing them. But the miracle is that the more I notice them, the more they seem to happen. Some of that is that I am just more aware of these things, so they seem to be happening more, but some of it is a genuine increase in blessings. I am laughing more often. I am getting more kind emails. The soup that was served at work this week was magnificent! I’ve discovered a really good line of bread at the store that has become the highlight of my breakfasts.

And that’s only the little things! In the ten weeks that I’ve been engaging in this practice, the number of “big” things for which to be grateful has just skyrocketed—from unexpected support for starting a new yoga class that I had given up on, to an old friend reaching out to rekindle our friendship, to unexpected gifts from people, to the creative flowering I’ve been experiencing, to help offered by people I know well and people I don’t, to all kinds of coincidences and synchronicities coming together at just the right moment.

It’s miraculous what a simple focus on gratitude can do.

The biggest miracle of all for me is the way it has changed my relationship to the things that still go wrong in my life. (No, life is not perfect!) Things that at one time would have sent me into emotional tailspins are now just noted, processed, and I keep going.

In fact, I’m rather sad this evening after learning about the death of someone I knew. It’s a really tragic situation, and I grieve for her family. It is also very, very similar to what happened four years ago when my best friend Vicki died, and this reminder coming at the same time of year increases my sadness over the loss of her friendship too. The difference, though, is that while I am sad, I am still keeping it all in perspective. I still believe that life is good and that I am blessed to be alive, even in this moment when I am so sad.

That shift in my reaction and perception is a bigger miracle than if I simply never had anything bad happen to me again. It means that I am being transformed by this practice and by the other practices that are growing up around this one. It means that long-time patterns are being shifted to healthier options. It means that this is not a surface change; it goes deep into my soul. It means that I am being made new, and that, my friends, is a miracle indeed.

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.

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4 thoughts on “Transformation: A miracle of gratitude

  1. I love this. I too see a difference in my every day life with my gratitude practice. I am sorry to hear about the death of your friend. My heart goes out to you and your friends family.

    • I am so delighted to hear that you are experiencing so much benefit from your gratitude practice, too. I loved your post yesterday!

      Thanks for the condolences. It’s really a sad situation. She was so vibrant and full of life, was a glowingly happy newlywed, and had just moved into a new house with her new husband. So sad.

  2. My condolences, too. And prayers for you and family and friends.

    Reading his post made me think of resurrection as something built into this world – as the way that life works. When we notice it. When we let it. 🙂

    Also put me in mind of the Peaberry coffee beans I’ve been sampling this week: wonderful cups of morning coffee! Definite, involuntary gratitude occasions. It’s about more than the coffee bean, but still…guess it just has to begin somewhere. Why not with a coffee bean?

    • Thank you, Callie! I love your observation of resurrection being something that is built into this world! I think there is much truth in that, and I will need to ponder on that for awhile. Thank you!

      And I think that delicious coffee beans are definitely an occasion for gratitude. Enjoy! 🙂

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