Learning to be Grateful

I have learned a lot of lessons in the past few years. Introspection, change and personal upheaval have forced me to take a long, hard look at my life, the ripple I create, the interactions I have with others. I have learned to be grateful when I didn’t think I had much to be grateful for. November is a time when we bloggers seem to focus our lens with laser-like precision on all things we are most grateful for. This year, I’m also participating in a gratitude project wherein I was matched with a stranger to perform a daily gratitude statement. More powerful than that gratitude journal, because you have someone else you are accountable to–and haven’t we all heard that lesson? Accountability in just about anything is good insurance for success.

Something about turning 40, losing my dad to cancer, personal family upheaval courtesy of the USAF, fizzled friendships and countless, endless stumbles along this path has made me revert to my safety. I’m a Cancerian–when times get tough, I curl up in my shell and regroup. And regrouping means focusing on what I am most grateful for.

To that end, here is a list of some of what I shared with my gratitude partner, what I’m grateful for now.

  • Blessings that aren’t immediately obvious, but that I’m able to see when I take a moment to look for them—and having the maturity to know to look for them. Realizing that the things you think you need are not really your needs. Learning what will fulfill me and my family has been life-changing.
  • Challenges that allow me to learn and grow, and the determination that comes from being faced with difficult circumstances and having to figure out how to succeed in spite of them.
  • Goodness in others. The ability to be kind to others no matter what. Witnessing people being good for no other reason save goodness.
  • Negativity that allows me to see how far I’ve grown as a person, to see how much I appreciate positivity and goodness when I’m shown what was or what my alternative is.
  • People I’ve met and made strong and lasting friendships with, thanks to online connections or social media or connections made through writing. I am forever amazed by how I am able to feel so drawn and connected to people I’ve never met but with whom I’ve shared so much.
  • Quietness in my home, in my heart, in my soul when I need it most. The contentment of my spirit since I have trusted my gut and followed my path. I jumped without a net into a situation that should not have worked, but it has worked out for the betterment of my family in ways I had never imagined.
  • The wisdom to know that you can’t get past painful experiences until you get through them. Hands-down, the most important lesson that I have learned, this has saved me endless nights of lost sleep and self-flagellation.

I am grateful to have connections to people I’ve never met through words I type on this screen. I’m grateful to have a voice in this world. I am grateful.

B+W head shotMari Farthing is co-admin of Oklahoma Women Bloggers. She would totally scale tall buildings for her family, loved ones and occasionally a nice glass of Malbec if it’s been one of those days. Mari blogs at Mari’s Virtual Notebook and Mari’s Edits.

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One comment

  1. So well stated, Mari. And so nice to learn a bit more about the lovely I sit next to at Panera! What a great project the stranger-gratitude connection is. What kind of place would we live in if each of us was matched up with someone who we fueled with reasons to be grateful and were fueled back with the same high octane??

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