I could feel his heart beating fast against my chest... his little sweaty head was resting on my shoulder as I was patting his back, whispering 'all will be all right." His fever was running high... no-one could really tell us what was going on with him. I was scared, really scared... exhausted as have not slept in days. At only 7 months of age we have had many trips and admissions to the hospital. And my worry grew bigger and bigger...
I remember staring at the big hospital window facing courtyard... It was gloomy and raining... each rain drop was mixed with my inner dialogue and prayers for him to get better soon.
Through the window I could see a man in a suit, wit a professional badge - walking briskly, carrying Starbucks in his hand and folded newspaper... He looked happy.
This man with a coffee and newspaper in hand, was a reminder to me of the "other life" outside of the hospital walls, where worries and struggles are so different. As I saw him walk by, the thought of desperation ran through my head, "I so want to be back to this... coffee, newspaper, kids running around, our ordinary life".
14 years later I reflect upon this moment often.
Why? It was in that moment I became aware how infrequently I experienced gratitude for all the good in my life prior to this... I was living on an auto-pilot, running with kids, doing my job, and what felt stuck in a hamster wheel. And now when appeared to be stuck in the worry and fear, the value of all good in my life seemed immeasurable.
See, gratitude awareness often shows up in the midst of the most challenging circumstances. That is not to say we have to go through tragedy or be in the midst of challenges to be grateful for all the good we are experiencing.
For as long as I can remember, I was always reminded to say thank you for a gift, and act of kindness, compliment etc. Saying cursory thank you and/or being courteous, or mindlessly counting blessings is NOT what gratitude practice is about.
For one, being courteous has an outward focus... where practice of gratitude is equally balanced between inward and outward focus.
As excerpted from one of our earlier blogs,
"Gratitude is a way of living. And way more than mindlessly counting blessings as the the act of moving beads on abacus. Living with gratitude mandates awareness." And authenticity and action (appreciation) in order to expand your depth, meaning and focus.
Living with gratitude is a mindset strategy which requires to be cultivated and committed to in order for one to fully experience and reap the benefits even when not in the midst of struggles. Only then it gives you clear perspective on all the good in life, even when the lessons are tucked in the pain and fear, along with unlimited possibilities of experiencing the life to the fullest.
Our future blogs will dive deeper into HOW we bring gratitude into our lives. Till then - stay tuned.
To You and the Alchemy of Gratitude,