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  • What Are You Grateful For?

    I’m not just asking this question because it’s the holiday season and the time that we often reflect on things that we are grateful for in our lives. I’m posing it because there’s a direct correlation between gratitude and health and happiness.

    I’ve learned this lesson in a very personal way over the past six months. As some of you know, I have eyesight challenges due to a degenerative eye disease and it has taken me into some dark emotional places. I’ve spent a lot of needless hours focused on what I’m losing, and in the process I’ve magnified and energized that lack and loss, leading to lots of emotional breakdowns and despair. But over the course of the year, I’ve also immersed myself in Taoism and spiritual principles tied to the universe and the energy source filled often referred to in quantum physics. It’s been scientifically proven that what we energize expands — it comes down to laws of attraction. So if we focus on lack and loss, we bring lack and loss into our lives. But the flip side is also true. About a month ago this finally sunk in, and a switch was flipped in my head. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong in my life, I turned my attention to what’s right and on all the things I have to be grateful for. And it has changed everything for me. We all have challenges that we face in life. But we also have amazing blessings and so much to be thankful for. It’s up to us to choose whether to focus on lack or abundance, the dark or the light.

    Here is just a sampling of the many things for which I am grateful.

    1. My amazing daughters, Sydney and Hannah, and my husband John. They are my rocks and the loves of my life
    2. The most incredible group of friends anyone could wish for — and they are all over the world
    3. My mom. I’ve grown to love and appreciate her more and more over the years and am so thankful for all she has done for me
    4. My city and neighborhood. I live in Seattle, a city I love, and in the neighborhood of Ballard, which I absolutely adore. It has everything that feeds my soul: a beautiful beach within walking distance, great independent coffee shops, a wide variety of live music, a wonderful local theater, amazing restaurants, and a coffee shop/wine bar right around the corner where I can meet up with my good friend Nicole at a moment’s notice.
    5. Work I love. I’ve been gifted with the most amazing job in the world: I get to work with people to help them write their personal stories through book coaching, memoir writing retreats, workshops and classes. It’s hard to describe how lucky I feel.
    6. The ability to walk to work with my husband, and squat in his office each day — which means we get to take coffee breaks and lunch together and even work out in the afternoons in the gym in our building.
    7. My health. Three years ago around this time, my doctor found a lump that turned out to be an aggressive form of breast cancer. Luckily it was caught in an early stage and after six months of surgery and chemo, I was able to get back to my life. Three years later, here I am, healthy and whole.
    8. I’ve always loved life and have learned not to take it for granted. I love its roller coaster ride, and the fact that every day I can take it somewhere new and create anything I want to create. It’s incredible and I’m determined to live it to the fullest

     

    I now start every day with a 45 minute meditation, followed by a two or three minute pause where I voice out loud at least five things that I am grateful for that day. It’s made a huge difference in my moods, and my outlook, and the more I practice gratitude, the more things I discover I have to be grateful for. If you aren’t already doing this, I hope you will start your own gratitude practice. I promise it will make a huge difference for you as well.

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