Gratitude is Good Medicine
Sometimes the best way to show our appreciation is a hug.
When I was given my first cancer diagnosis in 2006, I had been living what I thought was a good life. I had long since given up fast food and the equivalent emotional junk food of gossip and other degrading conversations. It wasn’t until after my second diagnosis in 2007, however, that I began to recognize the qualities that were missing in my life: among the most important was gratitude.
Of course, I appreciated that I had married a good man, landed a respectable job, and was raising two promising kids. But when I looked deeply at my inner life, which my second diagnosis prompted, I had to admit that I maintained a deep-seeded desire–and insatiable thirst–for more.
I wanted a more beautiful house, a fancier car, more disposable income, an updated wardrobe, more help to keep up the house and yard, more time to travel, more of this and more of that.
There’s positively nothing wrong with wanting more–and my list wasn’t over the top. What was off-balance, though, was that I wasn’t appreciating what I already had. I was psychically grabby for what I didn’t have and removed from what I had that already made my life so good. Essentially, I wanted things to be more perfect!
Perfect. Yikes! Perfection at that stage of my life was attainable only in fleeting seconds.
It took deepening my relationship with myself and taking responsibility for the details and nuances of my inner landscape to understand the perfection of what makes up right now. For example, right, now, the sun is shining and it’s not too hot. Now my husband and daughter are playing racquetball. Now my son is chilling out in front of the TV after a long night of having fun with his friends. Now, because I see how ripe this moment is–with warmth, communion, vitality, and the ever-eluding-art of rest–it is perfect.
I won’t deny that I woke up this morning with sadness in my heart. I’m going through some physical challenges that limit my mobility. It’s been months of this, and it’s wearing, makes me grumpy, shuts me down.
But now I know that to see the perfection and beauty in my daily life, I simply need to stop, sit, close my eyes, name all of the things I’m grateful for, and breathe into the good that surrounds me and that the day will reveal. The energy that rises within me then carries the day, and my physical limitations seem small compared to the blessings that abound.
“The key to…experiencing the absolute absence of resistance; of achieving complete alignment with all that you have become and all that you desire, and of bringing to your physical experience everything that you desire — is being in the state of appreciation — and there is no more important object of attention to which you must flow your appreciation than that of self.”
— Abraham, Excerpted from the book, The Vortex