Tag Archives: positivity

Gratitude, Day 24 of 48: Gratitude

Yep, I’m grateful for gratitude.

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!

Fat With Gratitude


The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.

—Marcus Aurelius, 121-180 c.e.

I sit down to write and feel blocked
because my open and honest expression
might be twisted and used as evidence
by the one I formerly trusted with my heart
that there is something wrong with me.
(That something wrong being that I’m a human
going through a particularly tough time.)
And so I embrace a sort of forced positivity,
which cannot be all bad, right?
I mean, for God’s sake,
I have clean drinking water, on demand,
water to bathe with, a toilet inside my house…
This puts me in the top 20% of the world’s population.
I have voting rights.
I have my health.
I have my mind.
I have a college education.
I have work that I love
and two beautiful children
and an opportunity to start over fresh
every single blessed day.
In essence, I’m being blocked from complaining,
and this impediment to complaints
advances my ability to celebrate what is working.
This open and honest expression
might also be twisted and used as evidence
that there is someting wrong with me,
but if this is the case,
then it only reveals what is wrong
with the reasoning faculties
of the person doing the twisting and judging.
Therefore, thank you, dear soul,
for giving me cause to pause
and go on a negativity diet.
I shall grow fat with gratitude and grace.

It Occurred to Me


It occurred to me
that I was fixating
on what could go wrong
instead of dreaming about
what could go right.
I had been taught to do this,
programmed by those
who had been programmed
by the ones before them,
and on and on and on going
back to my very first ancestors
who were worried about surviving.
It occurred to me
that I didn’t have to live this way any more.
It occurred to me
that I could envision my future
and summon good thoughts and ideas
about the possibilities that lie before me…
It occurred to me
that this way of thinking
was at least equally as valid
as the doomsday thinking I had been taught.
It occurred to me
that I have a choice.
It occurred to me to make the choice
to feel good inside myself
no matter what the external conditions of my life.
It occurred to me that happiness is within.
Love is within.
Abundance is within.
Health is within.
Connection is within.
Spirit is within.
It occurred to me that I am free.
I’m so grateful for all of these occurrences.

Parenthetical Nonsense


This afternoon I was really wallowing
in self-pity.
(Hey, at least I can see it.)
I was feeling sorry for myself,
lonely, listless, lethargic, worthless,
abandoned, powerless, broken.
And it finally struck me…
If this is my rock bottom,
then I’m doing pretty well.

I mean…
I’m safe, warm and dry in a home
(even if it’s going into foreclosure
and I have no idea how much longer
I’ll be here).
I have plenty of food available,
electricity, running water, a car that works.
I love my work as a yoga teacher
(even if I am not currently being paid enough
to support myself and my two children).
I have so many books chock full of information
right at my fingertips; I can read and learn.
I can write.
I can reach out to a friend
(even if Depression lies to me
and tells me that no one cares).
And I realized that this is all about focus.
Which thoughts am I focusing on and believing?
And can I focus on thoughts that will help?
I can try to shift my mind
(even if I have tried and tried a million times
and I keep ending up back here).
I can put one foot in front of the other.
I can breathe.
(even if I doubt this will ever change).
Clearly, I need to focus on facts
and ignore the parenthetical nonsense
(even if it seems impossible in this moment).



How long it will be
before the new paradigm is established
and I can truly be free of the thoughts,
words, and actions that have held me back?
I keep reminding myself that I am fine,
that I have always been fine
and I will always be fine…
but my poor, neurotic mind
simply cannot accept this.
It dutifully attempts to dredge up proof
that I will not be okay.
It wants to let me know I’ll run out of money,
I won’t find a way,
I’ll be lonely and homeless
without a friend in the world.
And all this because it wants me to be safe.
But the fear, doubt and worry
make me feel unsafe.
So I have to train this poor mind
to search for proof
that I will definitely be okay.
And then I keep exerting tremendous force,
really wanting this positive outlook
to be where I live most of the time.
This mighty war raging inside of me
feels exhausting;
I want a nap.
But somehow I must find a way to keep going,
until my mind knows

May I Choose Wisely


The depression and the despair
creep up and try to settle in;
I know them well
and I know where this is going.
It occurs to me to not go there,
not this time.
This time, I tell myself,
I’ll remember that I can choose.
I am not the screen,
nor the images projected upon it,
neither am I the projector–
I am the one who stands behind it,
watching the movie being played.
I am the one who chooses the reels.
I can choose a beautiful story,
a joyful, delightful, healing story.
Meditation gives me this choice.
Let me remember who I really am.
I am not this sad story
of grief and loss, not this time.
This time I am strength,
resilience, freedom, forgiveness.
I am creativity, inspiration,
sensuousness, sacredness.
May I remember my power.
May I choose wisely.

Mind Shift


Oh god. More laundry?
I’m so tired of spending my time
taking care of all these clothes.
I’m practically buried
in the mountains of laundry my children
and husband create.
I’m so sick of this.

I wish I didn’t have to do this.
But wait a minute.
Does this story help me to be happy?
This story helps me to feel put upon and resentful.
So how can I reframe it?
Wow. I get to do laundry!
I have a wonderful washer
that cleans my clothes
and a wonderful dryer
that dries them.
I am so fortunate.
I have two hands and ten fingers
capable of folding each shirt crisply,
and strong arms
that can carry the full basket
up the stairs.
I have a home and two beautiful children.
Here are the clothes they wear.
I’m so grateful I have these healthy children,
so glad I can keep them in clean, dry clothes.
I have a husband.
Here are his clothes.
He wears them to work.
He works hard
so that our family
can live in this comfortable home
and eat good food
and have a fulfilling life.
We are so incredibly fortunate.
The difference in my experience of life
as I shift from the first story to the second
is so profound
I can feel it in my heart, my body,
my eyes full of emotion.
There now,

that’s better, isn’t it?
Does this story help you
to be happier, more peaceful,
more open, more generous?
This is the power of changing one’s story,
of reframing the situation,
of shifting one’s mindset.
I have a lot of work to do,
but I’m grateful, so grateful
to have the tools to do it.

Be Positive, Patient, and Persistent


Be Positive, Patient, and Persistent

A little plaque sits in the sunny window sill just right of the kitchen sink at my in-laws’ house in Murray, Utah.  My eyes lit upon it as I was washing my hands after dinner this evening.  “BE POSITIVE, PATIENT AND PERSISTENT” it reads.  Doesn’t it say it all?

When you are positive, you are keeping your eyes open for the good in this life…and there is so much good if we can just open our eyes to it.  A positive frame of mind lights the way for others who are in need of some encouragement; it is contagious.  Even the most disenchanted of hearts can be enticed to enjoy life in the presence of someone who is genuinely positive.  In spite of ourselves, the stories we carry with us, our wounds, our fears, our resentments–I truly believe that at the core of our being we want to be happy.  Choosing to be positive is a giant leap in the direction of living with authentic happiness.  It doesn’t mean that we escape suffering by any means; this isn’t living in denial of the world’s pain.  On the contrary, a positive person might be extremely sensitive, cognizant of the world’s suffering–and because of this awareness, she is able to identify and savor the good that is available to her, the good that is always there.  This active decision to see with the eyes of appreciation makes life a grand adventure, makes us curious to discover what awaits as we awaken to the beauty that surrounds us.

And then there’s patience.  Wowzers is that a tough one!  But again, here is something that can make all the difference in the world in the sphere of personal interactions, personal evolution.  Patience smooths out situations that could feel prickly, it makes whole situations that feel fragmented, it strengthens us, our ability to be present, to love and accept ourselves and everyone around us just as we all are.  Think about the safety a child must feel in the presence of someone who is truly patient.  A child learns by doing, by experimenting, by falling and getting back up again.  A patient person affirms that it is okay to make mistakes, and to take as long as needed to learn–and doesn’t make anyone feel like a failure for not getting it right away.

I’m working on developing more patience, especially with myself.  It’s sobering to see that I am disproportionately more patient with others than I am with myself, that I can accept others’ need to learn at their own pace but am somehow intolerant of my own learning process.  Happily I can call the work I’m doing a practice, and remember from time to time that there isn’t any pressure to be anything other than what I am right now.  Imagine what the world would look like if we were patient enough with ourselves to extend genuine patience to one another.

And finally there is persistence.  It’s not easy being positive in the face of the many terrifying things that happen on this planet on a daily basis.  It’s not easy being patient, especially when we’re tired, hungry, lonely, emotionally charged…but we can evoke our persistence and ask ourselves to keep trying in spite of the challenges we face.  Without persistence we might give up at the first sign of challenge.  How would we grow without it?  How would babies learn how to walk if they gave up after falling one time?  How would we learn how to love if we went into hiding the first time our hearts were broken?  How could we grow stronger if we were too quick to throw in the towel when things get heavy?

Let us persist through our human challenges.  Let us look for the good and the positive in our lives.  Let us be patient with ourselves and others as we navigate this human life…let us light the way for others, so that the benefits of our work may extend beyond our personal stories.


You need more patience?
Plant an acorn in the forest floor,
sit by it, and wait.
Do you need to work on being positive?
Then trust that something beautiful will happen as you wait.
Wait  for the first little green shoot to appear.
Wait and watch it grow,
see the first leaves unfurling.
Do you want to know persistence?
Keep waiting.
Wait through the seasons,
through all the weather,
the day and the night,
the hot and the cold,
the moon, sun, wind and rain.
If you wait long enough,
you will see a majestic oak tree.
So it is with our lives.