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2 October 2020 – Alyssa Mages, CVO

I have seen this word trending everywhere, and that is as it should be.  If everyone took a moment and reflected upon what they have to be #grateful for…can you imagine what that would even look like? Can you describe the feeling?

I picture things brighter, a sense of enveloping warmth, a lightness in color, and the air doesn’t feel as heavily laden.  This is a very apt description for me as I’m living this sensation, riding this wave of relief and gratefulness following a truly awful week, and that’s saying something for this year.

A harried trip to the ER, multiple days & nights in hospital, what felt like an unending barrage of testing, and at the end of it all, no clear-cut answers.  Yes, I am OK.  Frustrated? That too.  Scared?  Definitely at times.  How then, am I able to weed through this thicket of emotions and come up with gratitude? Difficultly and yet at the same time simply – I chose to.

I chose gratitude…

For what could have been but wasn’t.

The nurses’ incredible compassion & excellent care.

Doctors who kept looking for answers and Did. Not. Stop.

My family & friends’ unwavering love & support.

Because day by day, I AM getting better.

Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments of pure, unadulterated anger.  Instances where that silver lining isn’t even a glimmer in the distance.  It is perfectly normal and fine for us to be mad/sad/insert-emotion-here; please don’t ever deny these for yourself.  Life really is not a competition nor a comparison; we all go through what we go through, and when we’re in it, it’s real, it’s raw, and to be frank, it sometimes sucks. Give it and yourself some time, then do what you need to do in order to refocus.  Revisit that space of thankfulness, and remember, you have to actively make the choice to do so.  When you choose gratitude, opt for optimism, and flip your perspective, amazing things tend to follow.

Conversely, what happens when we lose sight of being grateful?  A sense of emptiness, a hollow feeling right in the middle of us opens, and that’s when apathy gets a chance to sneak in.  That sentiment of ‘what’s the point, it doesn’t matter what I do anyway’ begins to creep into our conversations.  No one I know likes being empty in either the literal or metaphorical sense, and everything we do has an impact, so the latter isn’t an option either.

This part of mindfulness is essential for our overall wholeness, for when gratitude is expressed, acceptance of what was given flourishes.  It’s catching, and this is one contagion we can all benefit from. Let’s keep this #gratitude trend going – take 30 seconds each day for the next week and list 3 three things you’re grateful for.  Share them.  Re-read them when you need to.   Let us know if you noticed a difference in your lives.  Who knows, you may find that #gratitude turns what little you thought you have, into enough.

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