I’ve been quite silent lately. It’s been clear that I’ve needed to write about gratitude, but I haven’t felt super grateful. Well, I have in some areas of my life, and not in others.
Gratitude is defined as “the state of feeling appreciative for a kindness which has been granted or given, and (very often) of wanting to give something in return.” It’s the latter half of that description which I wouldn’t have verbalised but do, however, recognise as a key element. When the energy of gratitude is flowing in me I naturally smile, relax, and feel whole, while also letting it move through me to others and the rest of the world. It’s somewhat akin to being aligned with Ikigai, “reason for being”.
There really is so much to be grateful for. I often reflect on this. When I’m feeling happy and relaxed I breathe deeply and give thanks. When I’m disappointed and stressed I re-centre and get in touch with gratitude.
Curiously, there have been very painful and difficult events and times in my life that I would never have chosen to experience, but for which I’m now grateful. Breaking my right ankle, with the subsequent surgery and long convalescence, is an example. It could very well have led to my demise. Fortunately, my best friend was there to flip the switch inside, turning a very dark place into one of light. That experience led to my becoming a triathlete and competing at the half- and full-distance Ironman World Championships. Running and racing are now expressions of gratitude.
So why have I been quiet, and feeling rather down? I’m dealing with some niggles in the body that are hampering my exercise and training. It’s very frustrating. I remind myself of how grateful I am to have extra time to read, hang out with my dogs, play in other ways, and spend time learning. (BTW, dogs really are angels.) I’m not one to say that “everything will work out ok” or “everything happens for a reason.” Things happen; that’s really all I know. However, I do experience that everything works out the way it’s supposed to… because what happens is what happens. Search for and read the Taoist story of “Maybe”.
One of my favourite quotes is by philosopher and psychologist William James.
“Refuse to believe, and you shall indeed be right, for you shall irretrievably perish. But believe, and again, you shall be right, for you shall save yourself. You make one or the other of two possible universes true by your trust or mistrust.”
It’s a matter of perspective.
So with that, I keep moving forward with the routines that have proven, time and again, to be healthy for me, that infuse energy, give purpose, and allow me to serve others. And practicing gratitude provides energy, love, and support.