This past week a woman I knew died. She was married and had a two-year old son. And she was only 26 years old. 26… let that sink in. She had her whole life ahead of her and yet the universe felt it was her time. I think it hit me hard because aside from knowing her and what a caring, loving, compassionate person she was… I’m around that age. It truly makes you stop and think about how short life really is. And how everything or anyone can be gone in an instant.
When I heard the news, the first thing I did was give thanks for having the chance to get to know her. I gave thanks that she brought this beautiful young life into the world. And I gave thanks for life itself. Because even in tragedies there is meaning.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” ~ Melody Beattie
So when you’re struggling, like I have been, with a negative mood remember, perhaps one of the most important baby steps, the fifth and final one… gratitude.
5. Grateful force field – If you don’t feel like engaging in any of the other force fields, at least do this one. This is the one that makes all the difference for me. It has the ability to genuinely change your life. Even in your deepest, darkest hour, if you search for one thing, just one, that you are thankful for… like your favorite color blue or your goldfish or your sweet old Nana who used to sneak you a cookie before dinner… it’ll be like a crack of sunshine breaking through the muddy dark hole. And if you still don’t believe me check out Zen Master Leo Babauta’s post.
So give this a try… take a few moments a day to close your eyes. Breathe deep. Let the stress melt away. And think of three things you are thankful for. They can be something as simple as being thankful for coffee because without it you may throttle your kids to the next universe. Or something as complex as being thankful for your Mother giving you life even though you have a rocky relationship. Or as deep as being thankful that your life is speaking to you. Or anything really. Whatever comes to mind. Try to do this a couple of times a week and I think you’ll begin to notice a difference. You’ll feel lighter, freer, happier. And when you start to remember everything you’re thankful for, you’ll see that no matter how small or tragic or confusing, gratitude will bring true meaning to your life.
Just always remember that this life is short and you’ll never know when your turn will be up. So be sure to take care of yourself, walk outside in nature, surround yourself with friends, take joy in the little things and mostly be thankful. Life is beautiful and if you’re will to open your heart, meaning and happiness will find you.