Several years back I went through a tremendously difficult period of time. Everything that I had known and attached onto in the physical world was gone. My life had been turned upside down and emptied out much like one would do with a bathroom trashcan. All that was left of me, was a floundering spirit not sure which way to go or how on earth I was ever going to recover from this emotional and physical upheaval.
*The full story is in my book.
For all practical purposes, I had nothing to feel joyful for. Depression was very prevalent in my existence. Daily tasks were difficult. I would wait to grocery shop or do laundry until I literally had no choice but to do so. I could hardly stand to witness my brothers with their families, holidays were anxiety ridden and sad and suffice it to say, even though I had put on a brave face and showed up the best I could, I know my company must have been dank to be around.
The one thing I can say, is that I was actively seeking for healing. It was slow at first, but I could feel little micro-bursts of light coming in. It wasn’t every day, nor did they last but a millisecond, but they were there. My logical brain kept telling me, “It won’t be like this forever. Just hang in there.” However, my fearful disclaimer (ego) would attempt to discount any hope as soon as it arose. I had to literally force myself to keep a keen eye on the light no matter how minute it was.
Along my path, I began to read about the power of gratitude. I can’t tell you from what author or teacher it came, but all at once it was brought into my awareness. Hmmmmm gratitude, eh? Weeeeell, I don’t know about that! First off, I don’t have anything to be grateful for! My life is a wreck!
However, I decided to explore this tool/option/idea further and made the concerted effort to give it a go. Every night as I was falling asleep I would recite my gratitude list. At first, it felt like I was lying to myself. The list felt contrived and fake. Even though I was listing them, I wasn’t truly feeling them. Yes, these things are in my life, but ALL of this other sh*t is here too!
I can’t say it was an explosion of joy that came all at once like a firework in the sky, but I can tell you, my anxiety began to ease up, my breathing started to slow, my days became quieter, my decisions made easier, my smile came back, I started singing in the car and even breaking out in random dance when a great song would come on.
Whoooaaaa! Where on earth did this come from? This is the old Kristen! My, have I missed her…
My sweet, long-lost, beautiful friend, joy, was back. And with joy came her cohorts: hope and faith. My life and attitude were shifting. At first, I didn’t wanted to believe it and I was a little afraid of feeling joy again because I was still “white-knuckling” my existence waiting for another bomb to drop. I recognized that I was sabotaging myself and I made a conscious, directed decision to believe that the joy I was feeling was for me to embrace and enjoy.
Oftentimes in my life during moments of God’s miracles, I simply have no words… I literally just shake my head in amazement and say, “Wow… Thank you, Spirit.” In fact, I find myself doing that now as I’m writing this piece. The change in my life was indescribable, but oh so beautiful.
Gratitude is much like presence. When you feel it, embrace and focus on it, nothing else can come up. All that plagues you is released. The mind relaxes. A new perspective comes. Fresh ideas emerge. Intuition is more clear and peace comes. Much like love, gratitude can work miracles in our lives if we are willing to invite it in.
I encourage everyone who reads this (no matter if life is grand or not-so-grand right now) to start a practice of gratitude. All that you need, you already have. It’s right before you, holding your hand. You have not been forgotten nor will you ever be! Spirit is in our lives at all times and what we focus on, we attract more of.
Open your heart to all the wonders and blessings in your life! They are there! I promise.