Sunday, December 31, 2006

Thank You 2006 - Welcome 2007

Several years ago, I was going through a rough patch. It was an unfortunate confluence of big things and little things, that all arrived to challenge me at once. Any single one of them was something which, through concentrated effort, I could have worked my way through. But because it seemed as if every trip to the mailbox, every ringing of the phone, brought a new wrinkle, another dropped shoe, I felt overwhelmed. The longer this went on, the more sunk I felt. The more sunk I felt, the more I felt as if I was slogging through molasses and I just wanted to pull the covers over my head.

One day, I peeked out from under the covers and watched a woman named Sarah Ban Breathnach on the Oprah show. She had been in a similarly dark, deep hole caused by her own unique set of circumstances which, while different from mine, resonated with me. I listened intently and followed one of her simplest, yet ultimately most transformative pieces of advice. I began the long slow process of developing “an attitude of gratitude”. With the help of her book “Simple Abundance” I started to keep a Gratitude Journal. Every day I sat down and wrote five things I was grateful for. Sometimes I struggled. Sometimes I wrote the same things day after day. Gradually, my focus shifted. I started focusing on what was still working, still good in my life. Then I started chipping away at the problems. Some of those challenges yielded quickly. Some dragged on for months upon months. But I kept on developing that deep sense of gratitude.

In time, with lots of hard work, lots of love and support, I bounced back. But I had really bounced forward to a whole new place, a stronger and more resilient place. It’s almost hard for me to believe how sad and overwhelmed I was back then, compared to how I feel now. But gratitude still helps me cope. Whenever I am faced with something negative, big or small, I cast around for what is working well, what’s good, looking for the upside in the situation. I don’t mean to imply that I no longer get scared or sad or angry or frustrated - Lord love a duck I feel all those and more - just ask Chuck! But that frightfully sing-song phrase: an attitude of gratitude, goes a long way in helping me on a daily basis.

I wish you all a wonderful, wonder filled and peaceful 2007!

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