Halfway through this challenge, and I have to pause to be grateful for gratitude itself. I began a gratitude journaling practice years before my marriage ended, and had made it a habit to focus on what was going well in my marriage, so I was shocked when my husband announced it was over. Turns out he had been doing the opposite, focusing on what I did that annoyed him. Although I pleaded with him to step back and look at the good in our lives, he had made up his mind that I was the worst wife ever and there was nothing I could do about that. I continued to write in my gratitude journal as my life fell apart at the seams. I continued writing in my journal even as the voices in my head told me I’d be better off dead. I continued writing in my journal as I weathered storm after storm after storm. I have learned perseverance, strength, discipline, will, resilience. I have learned how to put things into perspective. I have learned that I don’t need a man to feel worthy— I am worthy because I exist. I survived. And I attribute a large part of my success to the mindset I developed while practicing gratitude. Thank you gratitude!
I surrender what is, into the loving fire of transformation, the light of which illuminates the present and manifests the future, in the highest creative expression of unconditional love.
—Alana Fairchild, from the Sacred Rebels oracle deck guidebook, pp 98-99
They say there is a jewel in the lotus, and if it can root down in the mud and grow up toward the light eventually it will break through the surface of the water and blossom open. They say the light pouring forth from the jewel in the center of the lotus is brighter than the brightest sun and all who behold this radiance are blessed. May we awaken to our present conditions that the flower of our awakening may blossom open in radiance and may the jewel at the center of our consciousness shine brightly for all beings to behold.
If you knew this current trial, this set back, this seemingly impossible situation were actually a great gift, handwrapped by Spirit, tied up with a bow and a lovely tag attached with your name on it— would you open it? If you knew that this gift when welcomed and fully accepted would lead you to your next level of self-expression— would you receive it? If you knew that this gift, although uncomfortable, painful and perhaps even detestable, were rendering you stronger, more capable, more competent, more confident, more courageous, more resilient and more intelligent— would you say Yes, please and Thank you? Let’s assume for one moment that everything suggested here is true… wouldn’t it be time for some gratitude?
Ahh, settling into this moment, and it feels wonderful, actually. I had this realization that my mind was stealing my joy. I was giving my attention to painful thoughts— and believing them. But then, I chose to think differently. I chose to focus on what is working in my life, how fortunate I am to have my health, my home, my children, my work… And suddenly I realized how rich I am, how blessed, how truly sacred this moment is. So now, in the absence of those painful thoughts, all that is left is gratitude and joy. Ahhhhh, thank you life.
Up half the night with a sick child, scrubbing puke out of the carpets, attempting not to resent my ex for leaving me to deal with moments like these on my own. How can I tweak my mindset when the moment is so obviously difficult? Any way you look at it, a pukey carpet is smelly and gross. How do you find spiritual wisdom in disgusting moments? Well…I tried. I tried to tell myself It is a privilege to clean up my daughter’s throw-up. Yes I did. I thought about childless couples who would’ve paid dearly many times over to have a son or daughter of their own, who would’ve been glad to be in my shoes, scrubbing mess out of the carpet, just to know they had a kid to love and raise. It strikes me now in retrospect, that it wasn’t so much the content of my mind, but the act of attempting to shift from feeling exhausted and overburdened to the recognition of my blessings— however disgustingly they were disguised— that might bear beautiful fruit in the future. Who knows what can grow of experiences like these, when they are met with the awareness that there is always another way?
Ah, how Grace does swoop in
with so many blessings
when my heart is open
and my mind relaxed.
I let the old Lorien die—
the Lorien who was attached
to her stories of her woundedness,
beliefs in deficiency,
resentment toward her imagined oppressors—
I let that Lorien die.
The new Lorien who emerged
was willing to put more attention on her future
than the old Lorien was putting on her past.
This new Lorien was excited to know her power.
She longed for more and believed she was worthy
of the good life had in store for her.
In this place of faith and confidence
And how it has swept into my life
with so many blessings
now that my heart is open
and my mind relaxed.