Gratitude 2014

I have been trying to write this blog in my mind before putting pen to paper (as it were), as I do so much of my writing, but it’s been difficult.  

In fact, I wrote that yesterday.  I don’t understand why a blog about gratitude is troubling me so.  This holiday has plagued me with difficulties and stress and strain.  I would like to say that those sorts of things have never stopped me from finding the light but it has.  I spent many a dark year stuck in the loop of negativity.  

My MRI results, by the way, were not at all positive.  There is no solution to the problems I face but maybe there is a way to slow down the loss of the use of my legs.  I know that people live all over the world with arthritis in their hips.  I was diagnosed with it in the left one some time ago but now it’s in both.  

I don’t know the first thing about disc desiccation though.  I guess I will find out when I visit the spine clinic on the thirteenth. 

As for gratitude…   Let’s start with this:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. ~Melody Beattie

“It turns denial into acceptance.”   

Ain’t that the truth?  

I know that when I was diagnosed with FMS at 22 I didn’t accept it.  I fought it for years.  Oh, I spent some time pretending.  I spent some time faking at caring for my body (and did it well too, until other circumstances came up – like a minor complication with my second pregnancy and 5 abdominal surgeries).  Then my marriage ended and my life changed drastically.  I was suddenly a single mother, with shared custody.  I met a man who showed me, again, that people can be untrustworthy, abusive and cheats.  He trapped me in the US for quite some time.

It was after I came home, after my ex-husband helped me get home, that I began to see the light in my life, that I learned what gratitude is.

No.  That’s wrong.

It’s when I began to learn what gratitude is. 

To me, gratitude isn’t about just saying thank you, although that is certainly a big part of it.  Saying thank you is a very simple act that can mean the world to the person you are saying them to.  Saying those eight little letters can mean the difference between a harsh feeling and a good one, for you and the receiver.  

Being thankful is an important part of gratitude.  It took me a long time to learn how to say thank you without embarrassment.  Sometimes, it’s very difficult to do.  Sometimes, you need to find alternatives to the words.  Other times, you need to find ways to both say it and show your gratitude.  If someone offers, I usually tell them to pay it forward.  It is nice to do for the nice but the nice most often don’t want such things done for them in return for them to feel appreciated.

They would rather see that kindness extended to someone else.  After all, you never know who may need it most.  Even something so [seemingly] small as a smile can change the way a person is thinking that day.

Gratitude is a way of life, to me.  It’s about kindness, a positive attitude, a lack of expectations (which is a whole other blog but I will attempt to get into it a bit here), it’s about … being Light.  It’s a way of life.  

Oh, I said that already.  But it’s true.  It’s not easy to get there, it’s not easy to stay there.  It takes a daily conscious decision.  Sometimes, several times a day.  Take, for instance, my MRI results.  I was grateful to get them, let me tell you.  Knowing what is wrong cleared up a few of the clouds in my brain.  Of course, it ushered in other ones, but we’re getting there.

I was angry, depressed, angry. I couldn’t see past the eventual destruction of my lower back. Couldn’t see past needing a wheelchair and not being able to walk more than a few steps.  I couldn’t see past being a burden to everyone – more so than I already imagine I am.  

But…  I have a wonderful support system and, even though they unintentionally made me feel like I wasn’t allowed to be angry,  I did come around to seeing that they adore me (as I do them) and simply wanted to tell me, to show me, that life is not all about being able to walk.   I have been afraid of this degeneration my entire life, of being alone in it.  I am not alone.  I am well cared for, by those both near and afar, and I mustn’t forget it.

It is because of them that I constantly remind myself that there is much to be grateful for.

I do not expect anything of the people around me.  I do not expect that they will be there when I need them, (ahh… most of them would be aghast that I said such a thing but it is true);  I hope that they will be.  I do not expect that the government will honour our contract every month; I hope they do.  I do not expect that my daughter will come home safely from school every day; I certainly hope she does.  I do not expect that The Boyfriend will pick me up every Friday, or even that he will love me as he does every single day; I hope so.  

Each time these things happen, I am grateful.  I say thank you – for listening, for the ability to pay my bills, for my daughter’s health, for the opportunity to spend time with him.  I say thank you to the individual, to the Gods, to the Universe.  I smile at (almost) everyone I meet, whether I  have a smile in me or not; most often I surprise myself and manage to find one.  Sometimes I get a smile back, sometimes I don’t.   That’s fine too; I like to think they’ve taken it and passed it on to someone else when they have had a moment to feel better.

Ms Beattie’s words about gratitude turning a meal into a feast, a stranger into a friend are right on the money.  Every time you show gratitude, every time you say thank you, pass on a kindness – or start a kindness – you are allowing more light into your life, more positivity, more room for blessings.  Each time you allow a little in you attract a little more.

What am I grateful for?

Peter, my children, my best friends, my Family – both blood and chosen.  I am grateful for the roof over my head, for my cat, for my social worker, my OT and my pain doc.  

I am grateful for every breath, every step (especially those aided by my walker, because it allows me more freedom), every meal. 

I am grateful to be able to allow the Light into my life.  

And I am grateful for you.  

May 2015 be full of magic. May all the sorrows of the past year dissolve in the light of love. And may all tears shed dry to dust to be blown away by laughter. (That was a stretch, eh?  It is what I wish for you though.)

I hope, finally, that prayers are answered and that all you deserve comes to you.

I leave you with my favourite piece of music.  This is the most wonderful version I have heard.  

Muah.

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