by Rebecca J. Clark
Gratitude. According to Zig Ziglar, “The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more things you'll have to express gratitude for.”
Well, that’s all fine and good when life is great. It’s easy to be grateful when your life is easy peasy. But what about the times when life isn’t so great?
About a year ago, one of my friends recommended a book called The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. It is a book about gratitude. Written by the author of The Secret, The Magic suggests how gratitude can change our lives, that we will attract all we want when we practice feeling gratitude. The author wants you to start each day with a list of 10 things you’re grateful for and why. A few of my friends had started this daily practice and they said it changed their lives. According to the law of attraction, "like attracts like" and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results (from the explanation on Wikepedia).
Well, I did my gratitude list for a while, felt good about it, but eventually got out of the habit. Then last October, my husband lost his job. And with the job market the way it is (sucky!), the future was looking a bit gloom. I decided to start my daily gratitude list again. And I’ve stuck to it every single day since then.
Have I seen Magic appear in my life? Has my life become easy-peasy? Um, no. In fact, life has gotten harder. My husband is still unemployed with no prospects; we’ve had some family illnesses (MIL diagnosed with cancer) and drama; household issues (does everything really need to break at the same time?). Etc, etc.
So, I guess this Magic Gratitude thing doesn’t work then, eh? Well… I think it does. Every morning I list 10 things I’m grateful for, 10 good things in my life. And each night before bed, I think about 5 things that happened today I’m grateful for. Then I think of the one very best thing that happened today.
By book-ending my day with gratitude, I think it’s given me the correct attitude to deal with all the crap that life has thrown my way lately. It’s like looking through the rain to find the rainbow every day. It doesn’t make life easier (wouldn’t that be nice?), but it certainly makes the negative stuff easier to deal with.
Side note: As I write this post, I am also watching the devastating story on the news about the massive mudslide across the county I live in. [read the story] Several people have lost their lives, houses have been destroyed, and many people are still missing and presumed dead, and the threat of massive flooding is imminent.
Boy, does this put my life and troubles in perspective or what? My issues are nothing compared to this. I am grateful I have a house. I am grateful I don’t live at the base of a hill or in a floodzone. I am grateful that my family is alive and well. I could go on and on.
I find myself stuck to the news like glue as I watch the story unfold, wishing there was more I could do other than donate to Red Cross [donate here]. Even in this devastation, miracles are being reported. The man who just happened to go to the grocery store at the time of the slide—his house is gone. The entire family who just happened to be at a baseball game—their house is gone. The woman who decided to stop at McDonalds—if she hadn’t, she’d have been driving on the stretch of road taken out by the slide. The dog that had been swept 100 yards and presumed dead, then was dug up the next day—bruised and beaten, but alive.
My troubles are nothing. I have much to be grateful for. Now, excuse me while I go write down my gratitude list for the day…
P.S. For the next seven days, I will donate all the profits of my indie books (The Checklist Diet and Shameless) to the disaster relief. So please help me spread the word.
The Checklist Diet