Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some. (Dickens)
I'd forgotten how exhausting the first few days back into a new school term are. Was planning on writing a bit on this blog every day, to keep the momentum going and to stay focussed, but after a difficult evening with my son (super-stressed and shriek-crazy after returning to school after a week off), ...it just didn't happen. I'm tired again tonight, so words aren't flowing as I would wish.
I wanted to write about gratitude before I start outlining the dreams that have been swirling around my head for as long as I can remember.
So often we complain about our lot, whether out loud or subconsciously in the thoughts we have, when honestly, if we stop and take a moment, there are so many blessings to be found in our lives. Everyone is always grateful for presents they receive, an act of kindess or as a response to being served in a restaurant or a shop for example, but it is so easy to take for granted those every day blessings tied up in the mundane.
After Andrew left I nearly drove myself insane re-living our whole relationship in my head, going over every conversation, re-reading every text, searching for answers to endless questions. Immersed in shock and pain and constantly analysing, I knew I had to stop before my life totally fell apart. Among the hundreds of books I was reading to distract myself, was one by Eckhart Tolle entitled 'The Power of Now' all about living life in the present moment and the happiness that brings. It provided solutions for dragging your thoughts back into the here and now when they spiral out of control into negativity. It worked wonders for me. Everytime I started analysing and re-playing conversations, I would speak out loud about what I was doing at that moment...'I'm just putting toothpaste on my toothbrush and now I am going to brush my teeth'....I'm driving along, changing into third gear now, I can feel the chill of the steering wheel in my hands, the sky is blue, oh look, there's a bird, hello bird, how are you today'.....etc... You feel like a complete dork, but it honestly works. At first I could only manage a couple of minutes before the questioning would start up again, but with perseverance, I soon managed to drown out the majority of the negative thoughts with positive out-loud chatter. I started to feel much better.
Soon after that I began reading 'The Magic' by Rhonda Byrne. Already a fan of 'The Secret' and 'The Power' by the same author, ( about manifesting the life you desire by changing your thoughts), I devoured 'The Magic', which is all about gratitude, and I can honestly say it changed my life. The book encourages the reader to start each day by writing down ten things to be thankful for, and ending each day by recognising all the good that happened in that day, and then finding the best thing out of all the goods.
I couldn't really find the time to write such a list every day, but I made a conscious effort to mentally say thank you for ten things every morning....thank you for my alarm going off so I am not late for work...thank you for the joy of hot water to have a shower...thank you for central heating so my house is cosy...thank you for my health...thank you for my beautiful children...and so on. It was an extension of dragging my mind chatter into the here and now, and I started to practice it every time I began to descend into negativity. It worked wonders. Soon I was applying it to everything I could think of and turning negatives into positives...thank you for the blue sky and the birds....thank you for my job, I am so grateful to have one when so many are unemployed...thank you for the money to feed us all every week (instead of ' why does the grocery shop cost so much?')...thank you for taking my man away from me because if that hadn't have happened, I wouldn't have been able to spend 3 undivided years with my children and have the bond that we now have....thank you for the gas bill because without it we wouldn't have warmth and hot dinners...and so on, you get the idea.
Very very soon, I started to feel real happiness creeping over me. I actually started to feel real joy for everything in my life. I've slipped a bit now on the constant deliberate finding gratitude, but I still start each morning with a big thank you for a new day, hot water, legs that work etc etc, and I always always end each day with a big thank you for all that is good in my life. It honestly has changed my whole outlook.
So, before I start concentrating on the dream life I want to manifest, I want to express my gratitude for everything I have already. For my beautiful, healthy children who bring me untold joy, for my own healthy body which stays healthy despite the rubbish I feed it, for the money I have that enables us to live in a warm house and buy enough food, for the car that transports us safely every day, for my precious friends, for the job I have that allows me to be there for my children, for my two cats who never fail to shower me with love, even when I get annoyed and push them away, for the gift of an intelligent and enquiring mind, for the drive and desire to improve myself and make the world a better place.
I am truly grateful.