Living A Life Of Gratitude

The way home is through living a life of gratitude.

I took this in, while watching Dr. Brené Brown being interviewed by Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. Then, Dr. Brown talked about how living a life of gratitude is a daily practice. It’s something we have to work at and be conscious about.

As I got thinking about what this looks like, I thought about my own life. How do I live a life of gratitude? How am I thankful and grateful, and for what? And the biggie for me is, can I find the good in the bad things in my life? Can I figure out how to be grateful for what most people perceive as bad things that happen in my life?

Starting with some of the biggies: I am blessed and grateful for my family and our life situation. I am grateful to have stability and calm in my life (most of the time). I am grateful for my close friends. I am grateful for the material things in my life. And even more grateful for having experienced a spiritual awakening and having found myself in ways I could never have imagined.

And some of the little things: today I am grateful for rain so my potted plants get a drink. I am grateful for time to myself to reflect and to write. I love to watch our pet guinea pig and to pet her silky fur. I am even grateful for my cool purple insulated cup that I use quite a bit. Right now it’s full of home-made iced tea. After experiencing second and third world countries, I am constantly grateful for reliable electricity, indoor plumbing, refrigeration, and a car that never lets me down.

The challenge has been to learn how to see some things in a different light, so I can be grateful for them, too. When I am trying to make a traffic light before it turns, and sure enough, it turns red just as I get to it, instead of fussing and fuming, these days I try to remember to go to the place of: thank you for stopping me and possibly keeping me out of a car wreck. If a bad driver zooms ahead of me, instead of getting perturbed and wanting to give them the finger, I am thankful that the crazy driver is ahead of me, so when they cause a wreck I’m not in it and I can drive around it.

It has been a very long road, but I am grateful for having a mentally ill mother. Once I was able to move my thought process into a higher realm, I was able to see that she taught me compassion for people with mental illness. I appreciate her for what she was able to accomplish during her long lifetime, especially considering she wasn’t medicated until she was 50 yrs. old. Because of some dysfunctional aspects of our relationship, I was able to hone my empathic abilities.

Another thing that Oprah consistently talks about is her daily prayer. For her, it’s about being used to do God’s work. My prayer is few in words, but huge in meaning.

It is “Thank you.” I thank God, the energy that created us and everything that is, for everything that I have and everything that I am; trusting that even things that are uncomfortable or even painful will be revealed as a benefit to me at some point.

Finding the good in everything is definitely a conscious choice. And making it a practice is a process. What are you grateful for today?

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About mariner2mother

I'm a mother of a very spirited 15 year old son, and a former merchant ship's deck officer. To feed my creative side I take photos. I am also Reiki attuned and am a student of Energy Healing, having used several healing modalities to work on myself and my family. Our most recent adventure has me homeschooling my teenager.
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21 Responses to Living A Life Of Gratitude

  1. I kept a gratitude journal for a while… it really helped to see things in writing. Good for you for focusing on the positive!

  2. emjayandthem says:

    I’m also grateful for the gift of perspective; having a brother with mental illness softened my attitude and understanding when others near me experienced it, too.

    Saying “thank you” is very powerful; I find it’s important to say it out loud, even if I’m the only one around to hear it 🙂

    Beautiful post! MJ

  3. Cathy Ulrich says:

    I loved this, Susan. It’s always good to be reminded of the power of gratitude. I, too, see things for which to be grateful all around me and it lifts my spirit whenever I remember to do so! Thank you for this post.
    Cathy

    • Thank you for commenting. I don’t know whether I needed a reminder to be continually grateful, or if it’s that I’ve been experiencing gratitude a lot lately and just wanted to share. No matter, it’s always a good reminder. And, you’re welcome!

  4. janonlife says:

    I worked with a mentor several years ago who suggested I pin up a note saying, ‘I am grateful for all in my life.’ where I would see it frequently.
    It’s still here, on the notice board next to my computer, and it’s been valuable this afternoon to stop for a moment and check whether I’m sticking to it.
    Mostly, but not always… 🙂
    So I’m grateful for the reminder from you x

  5. Very nice. It is so important to review in detail aspects of your life that are good as well as to find the good in a bad situation. You do that well. 🙂

  6. Thank you Maria! It’s funny to look back and see that I learned how to look at a situation many different ways when I was back in college studying sociology (it was what I majored in). I never realized back then (when I had not idea where my life was going) that what I learned in college was not to prepare me for a certain job, but to prepare me for life. 😉

  7. Hi Susan,
    I’m grateful for your post on gratitude. I particularly appreciate your emphasis on asking about finding the good in life experiences that initially don’t feel good. Figuring out how to be grateful for what most people perceive as bad things in our life feels like tricky business. It just seems too difficult to reliably determine other people’s perceptions and to be able to say with certainty that it’s not my own projections I’m tuning in to. I prefer the challenge of imagining people perceiving as good, something I might be perceiving as something bad, if that makes any sense. Thanks for this post, Susan.

    Bob

    • You are very welcome! And yes, what you said makes sense. I had an amazing lesson in perception by having a bipolar mother. I finally understood that her perceptions of the world were on an ever changing continuum that depended on her state; whether she was depressed or manic, and to what extent. And I’ve had some very challenging situations in my life (some I haven’t written about yet) that have taken me years to be able to shift my perspective on. And it took help from the spirit world to get there.

      • I can relate to having a parent who seems to ride an emotional roller coaster. And I know what you mean about how it can sometimes take years to feel like we’ve genuinely shifted our perspective on particularly challenging life experiences. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we allow spirit to help. -Bob

  8. KippFu says:

    that i live in hawaii. i know it sound a little obnoxious but what the hell. thanks for the share.

  9. Ned's Blog says:

    I think, more than ever, living a life a gratitude is important and something that seems to be happening less and less. Instead, there seems to be a prevailing attitude of entitlement. People have asked how I stay so positive and happy, and it really does come down to being able to appreciate the small things each day instead of waiting for something “big.” A life of gratitude gives you many reasons to smile and appreciate your life a moment at a time. Isn’t that why we’re here?

    • I think you nailed it. For me, if I can find a way to shift my perception, I can move from bad feelings into better and better feelings. That’s pretty simplified, but it’s gotten me out of a pretty fierce victim mode, into an attitude of being ok with something, and then moving into understanding and being thankful for situations that have helped me to grow as a person.

      • Ned's Blog says:

        That’s really the key, isn’t it? To stop looking at situations as “why me?” and instead look at them as “why not me?” and what can I gain from this experience? My Dad taught me that, and it’s a lesson I have tried to remember my whole life.

  10. panikikubik says:

    Hello
    What a nice and great blog you have! I’ve a mom who’s been having a hard battle through the years with my panic disorder . I started blogging about it to encourage others an myself to get well again. Every morning when I wake upp i’m grateful for that I have my lovely kids and that they are safe and well, I’m grateful for that I wake up without panic or anxiety (well .if I don’t) and I tell myself that this new day is going to be a good day. Happy halloween 🙂

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