Several years ago I began writing a newsletter called "Grati-Tuesday" and it has since gained a popular and steady following.
It had become obvious through my own life and clients' lives that being grateful for everything--things we deem good, bad, or awful--changes not only our lives, but US.
So I wanted to share the magic of that with my readers.
I believe daily gratitude has reshaped the way I see "problems" and how I react to them, even when those challenges are seemingly "tragic."
But in order to be grateful, you need to know where you are.
Are you stuck in the middle of an "awful event," one in which you curse and wish your way out of? Or do you understand that this event is meant as a lesson for you, to help you become all that you're meant to be?
In 1996 when my life exploded, I only knew to crumble as everything I thought I'd known about myself and my marriage imploded, leaving me wide open and raw.
My immediate reaction was to grieve--loudly and often--and ultimately, it's what I believe started the cascade toward healing my shattered heart.
And it was the best thing that could've happened to me.
I purged emotions that I'd been stuffing for years, possibly decades, and my world began to open up. Gratitude for my new-found hope about my life, and excitement about a new future, quickly followed.
Eventually, I was even grateful for the "tragedy" of betrayal.
It wasn't just a temporary healing, either. It was a deep-down, in-my-bones-kind-of-healing that has lasted decades.
I'd healed the betrayal fully, deeply, and permanently.
But let me take this story one step further, to illustrate my point...
In 2003, I was newly in love and moved my 3 pre-teens cross-country to be with a new man. But when the relationship began to take a nose-dive, I did not react with my typical Zen-self.
Instead, I fought the signs that told me something was not right. I did not give-in, cave, or face our impending break-up head-on.
I fought it.
And because I fought with anger, blaming, and excuses about my partner's behaviors, I wasn't able to start the trajectory toward healing, either.
It was a long, challenging few years before I came up for air and was myself again because I had not been willing to be grateful for the lesson, nor was I willing to accept that I had invited addiction into my life again.
Eventually I faced what needed to be dealt with and I healed, but remnants of that battle still linger.
Fast-forward to May of 2018 when Cancer was diagnosed.
Because I had already been steeped in self-help and healing for decades, I was able to face this new challenge head-on. I was willing to do whatever it took to heal.
And I believe that practicing gratitude in the face of a devastating diagnosis was the primary reason cancer took a hike.
I didn't fight it. I didn't look the other way. I wasn't the least bit angry about having been diagnosed with a potentially-fatal illness.
I accepted the diagnosis, then did what needed to be done to come out of the experience the victor.
I was grateful to be alive; grateful to continue working; grateful that I had a huge tribe supporting me.
I even became grateful for cancer since it has reset my life on a new course.
You see, practicing gratitude changes us.
It changes the way we look at life, and how we respond to people, challenges, and "problems."
It changes how we see ourselves in our big, bountiful lives.
Gratitude for what we already have in front of us draws more of what we want to us: love, peace, money, magic.
I believe I healed cancer by being grateful for its presence, just like I believe I was able to heal a deep, dark betrayal because I leaned into the lesson it was meant to instill.
Much like a car that has to drive through a heavy and dark storm to travel the highway toward its destination, we have to be willing to lean in and forge ahead when life feels unpleasant.
Be grateful for the presence of an event...even when you don't like it or understand it.
Be grateful for the lesson...even when you can't see it.
Be grateful for the potential for growth...especially when you're feeling uncomfortable.
Practicing gratitude feels even more seductive when comparing my three stories. When I wasn't grateful for the event in 2004, and failed to invite the lesson into my life, it took double (triple?) the time for me to heal.
See how it works?
So now it's your turn.
I invite you to share a story in your life where simply being grateful healed you, changed you, stirred you, or unhinged you.
It's in the stories we share with each other that allows more healing to take place.
We learn that we are not alone, we often hear just what needs to be heard...
And it's always at the right time.