“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.” — Meister Eckhart
Mom set a good example for all of us. Every morning, she would awaken and open her bedroom shades uniformly. She would stretch and thank God for another beautiful day. She lived her life with a sense of gratitude and grace. She knew that riches didn’t mean just financial abundance, but that abundance was all around us in the sunsets and the children laughing and the people we love. After her diagnosis, I believe she became even more aware of the little things in life and how much they meant to her. Even when those close to her knew how she suffered physically from the effects of her illness, she always said (and believed) that she was “doing fine…. better every day”.
As I began to face my own dis-ease, I realized quite profoundly, that she was onto something big. When I was diagnosed, I knew that despite what the doctors said about my prognosis, only God knew how much time I had left here on Earth. I knew, innately, that if I gave the word leukemia the power, that I would surely live up to the doctor’s morbid expectations of me. At that point, I had two preschoolers to get raised. There was no way I was going to leave them.
I had to start focusing on living each day as a thank you. Every moment, we have the opportunity to focus on things that give us pleasure or things that bring pain. When we focus on all the things, big and small, for which we are grateful, we send out a beacon to the Universe that says, “I like this … send more, please!”.
Each morning since my diagnosis, I awaken and the first thought in my head as I stretch is, I am healthy and strong. Then, before arising, I make a mental list of everything in my life that I appreciate and for which I am so grateful. Sometimes my list is very general, like being thankful for being alive or being able to sit up, stretch and get out of bed. Other days my list is quite specific, like being thankful I found that great shirt or that I have such fabulous people in my life or had that great meal.
Each night before bed, I write in my gratitude journal. I find at least five things for which I am thankful. Sometimes I simply rattle off a list and sometimes, if I am feeling creative, I write a “brief” essay. This very simple act of being grateful and appreciative brings more wonderful experiences into your life. The more you graciously appreciate all the things in your life that are going right, the more things start to go right for you!
There is so much in life for which to be thankful. Try this process in your own life. It’s another simple process with seemingly magical effects. Each night before you go to bed, sit quietly and breathe as you review your day. Then, either in your journal or at least consciously in your mind, make a list of at least five things for which you are grateful. Feel free to list more if you can. Some days it may feel like a struggle, but dig deep and do it. The more you practice observing the positive aspects of your days, the easier it gets. If you find you can rattle off more, keep going. List as many as you can and if you’re on a roll, stay with it!
The more you can create an attitude of gratitude in your life, the more you will see your world turn around for the better. As if by magic, things will start to go easier for you. Life will become your friend and together you will create a truly magnificent reality!
Appreciation for life’s blessings opens a valve for more and more delicious, delightful splendors. Start now! You will not regret it!
Excerpted from Things I Wish my Mother had Said … (or maybe she did) by Genie Lee Perron. Copyright © 2013 Genie Lee Perron