I believe the best way I learned gratitude was by keeping a journal, where every night I would appreciate the good events I had during the day.
…Rewind to 2001.
I was diagnosed with cancer, a single mother of a 4-year-old, living half a world away from family, and without much contact to them regardless of the distance. I was scared. That’s the moment I understood that I needed to re-write my story.
More than planning on re-writing my future if I were to have a future, I knew I needed to begin by changing my present. My present (2001) would become my past after overcoming this battle, and it would be a past I, in 2016, would be proud of.
I decided to begin my “thank you” Journal and I could not be more glad I did. It forcibly shifted my focus from all the negative things to my blessings every single day.
My “thank you” Journal project began to expand my field of gratitude, and rather than only be grateful for events and things, I began thinking of at least one person to thank before going to bed. I would always ask myself “who do I need to thank today?” Sometimes I would simply be grateful for someone else’s gratitude, for example, the woman who crossed the cross walk and thanked me with a smile for letting her pass; a smile that was enough to make my day.
Regardless of what I was being thankful for, one thing was for sure, I stopped being focused on what was worrisome, or sad, or difficult, (or at least didn’t make it the only thing I was focusing on). Contrarily, my positivity and gratitude was so consistently present in my daily life that suddenly it became outweighing all of the negative.
I realized that I began to truly see my daughter grow up and enjoy the moments of watching her flourish rather than simply planning photo shoots together to leave her a memory in the case I didn’t make it. Not only was I able to enjoy my life more, but I perceived that I was receiving so much gratitude and I grasped something amazing: what goes around really does come around. This daily thanking is an exercise that I have never stopped since I first began and I promise myself that I will never stop.
Gratitude grows and multiplies within you and around you, it is the best antidote to judgment, anger, fear, and resentment. Gratitude will promote and nourish compassion and love towards yourself, towards nature, and towards others. I truly believe gratitude is the most powerful prayer a human being can ever utter. And remember: the more you express gratitude, the more gratitude is expressed to you!
To conclude, I leave you with this video by Louie Schwartzberg. Feel inspired, and if you do, I hope you have a chance to share, so we can continue this thank-a-thon together.