The secret to being grateful is no secret. You choose to be grateful. Then you do it again and again. If you forget, begin again.
I remember that rainy summer evening – shortly after Angel and I lost two loved ones to illness, lost our livelihood in a layoff, and ultimately lost sight of the goodness that remained in our lives – when I found myself lying down on a tile floor, alone in the dark, just thinking.
Angel and I rarely spoke openly about anything meaningful during that period of time, mostly because I was withdrawn. I felt helpless and essentially depressed about what had happened. I was lost in the darkness of my own negative thinking.
But something shifted inside me as I was lying on that tile floor.
As I looked up and out the open window next to me, the moon suddenly broke through the clouds and illuminated the dark room I was in. Then, within seconds, a light breeze started blowing the white window curtains inward and over me. As the curtains fluttered in the air four feet over my body, I smiled. It was a beautiful moment. And without thinking twice, I whispered out loud, “Life is still a miracle to be grateful for.”
Angel walked into the room at that exact moment and whispered, “I agree.”
She ducked under the curtains and snuggled into me on the floor. After a couple moments of shared silence, we decided to list some things off the top of our minds that we were grateful for, despite our struggles.
Our list of gratitude looked something like this:
- We had each other
- We had parents, extended family, and some friends who loved us
- We were reasonably healthy
- Most of our family members and friends were reasonably healthy
- We had some savings
- We had shelter, water and food
- We could experience and appreciate the beauty of the moonlight illuminating this dark room, and the breeze making the curtains dance
And the list went on, of course, but you get the gist. Even when everything seemed to be wrong, we had a lot going right – a lot to be grateful for.
That night I resolved to change my thinking and make gratitude a daily ritual in my life.
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