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Gratitude – gentle shift to the here and now

When I was about 3 years old, I was with my family at our community baby pool. I had brought my new board that I could float on in the pool and was prepared to use it for the first time. I was excited to learn to swim more with the help of the board. I was enjoying using it and then a kid came running over that I didn’t know, grabbed it and suggested “Hey we can both share it!”. Sure I thought; I’m all for sharing. What I thought was us sharing the board together turned into something quite different from his perspective and very fast. Before I knew it he broke it in half over his knee and handed me one half of it. “Here” he said and walked off with the other half. His mother came over horrified by this and handed me back the other half and ran off. I stood there with 2 half’s that didn’t work well or float any longer.

I remember this story well because for years my Mom and Sister would bring it up and we would laugh about it. We would reflect on the way my face looked standing there both during and after the event; the blank look on my face. They remember watching it from across the pool so we would discuss the details from both our prospectives. We would laugh so much that I would cry so hard. Often because it really helped me to remember crazy times, laugh about things out of my control and let go of the silly things that people do. As I grew up I was able to appreciate how helpful pausing is and not overreacting so you can put things into perspective.

This memory, even at such a young age, has helped me many times when I have found myself questioning ‘Why me’? It has helped me to see how helpful explaining verses expressing my emotions is. I find this important for various reasons. The first is that we are more than our thoughts and emotions. We often don’t see it at first and give ourselves credit. The second is that along with putting things into perspective it allows me to make the shift towards gratitude; for all that I do have. Just as in the story above I could feel many things from anger, bitterness, fear and sadness for sure. But in addition I also had many other emotions and feelings as well. First off it could have been worse. I was ok, healthy and safe. I had a home, food and of course had a set-back to my swimming but you know what? I did learn to swim and without that board. So things happen and sometimes I just need a moment to stop, step back and appreciate the moment right here; right now just as it happened.

 

“Ego says: Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace…Spirit says: Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.” ~ Marianne Williamson

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