’Tis the season to reflect on what we have and how fortunate we are.
It has been a surreal past two weeks to say the least. For some, it’s the horror of coming to grips with the soon-to-be President of the United States, actually moving into the White House and running the country. For others, it’s elation and a renewed hope that their lives will improve.
I am speaking to the former, rather than the latter. No matter the downward spiral you believe this country is headed toward, there is much to be thankful for. And I, for one, am thankful to be an American citizen and to live in this great country.
My one year practice of appreciation
A few years ago, I made it a point, every single day, to write down all the things that were good in my life. And I committed to doing it for one whole year. Not just around Thanksgiving or the holiday season, but every day for 365 days.
There were several dark days that would make me question my self-worth, God, and whether life was even worth living. Days I dreaded going into work because I would have to see and interact with people. Days when I wished I didn’t have anybody else to care for except myself.
But I stuck to my practice and it got me through those depressing days.
As a good friend of mine likes to say, “If you don’t have cancer, you don’t have problems!” Okay, it’s not entirely true, but you get the point.
Did you wake up this morning? I’m assuming you did since you’re reading this … be thankful.
Do you have a bed that you sleep in and a roof over your head? Be thankful.
Are you free of pain or illness? Be thankful.
Do you have a car that runs? Be thankful.
Do you not have to worry about where your next meal is coming from? Be thankful.
These are just a few of the many things so many of us take for granted when we’re boo-hooing and whining about how much the country sucks for electing Donald Trump, and how life, in general, sucks. I’m a big believer in the saying, “What you focus on expands.” Meaning, if you focus on the negative, you will see and experience more negative. Likewise, if you focus and give energy to the positive, you will see and experience more positive.
Take a breath
Yes, life can sometimes suck. You may have trouble making ends meet. You could be battling cancer. These are all serious issues and it can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. It can all feel so overwhelming. When this happens, I encourage you to simply stop the soundtrack in your mind and breathe. Quiet the noise and listen to your breath and slow your breathing. Count your breaths. Feel the rise and fall of your chest as your breathe in and out. Listen. Do you hear it? That’s the sound of life. You are alive. You have the gift of another second, minute, hour to share with the world your unique gifts. I urge you to adopt this practice every day and see how much your life changes. ■