It seems to me that I have lived this life as one of gratitude for a long time - and it just occurred to me that I have not shared about that yet.
In 2015/2016 when I was travelling the cancer journey, I spent a lot of time using gratitude to help me settle my mind and spirit. I especially posted on Facebook when things were at their worst. And sometimes when those ‘memories’ pop up, I actually feel a bit sad, because I remember how difficult it was at that point in my life.
I had to leave my children with my ex, as I was so very sick and unable to care for them properly. I missed them terribly and worried about them often, as at that point in life my ex was also struggling. We were in and out of court, in and out of custody battles and my children truly suffered as much as we did because of our actions. This is one of those - If I could go back, knowing then what I know now moments.
So I found small ways to feel grateful, I did this for my mental, emotional and spiritual states as part of my mental wellness journey. I was grateful for rain or sun on the days when there wasn’t much to feel grateful for. I was grateful for community support as well as having a family doctor (finally). I was grateful for friends who made a point of having my children over for visits so I could see them and know that they were safe.
That journey through cancer really formed me at a point when I felt so broken. I felt defeated by my body, I felt depleted to my soul. I thank Source everyday - still - for the amazing place I live and the people who carried me through those darkest nights. Some of those people were relatively new in my life, and the friendships we still enjoy are one of the truest blessings that I have ever received.
Gratitude during the ‘dark soul of the night’ times can help us move through and back into our light, with a better sense of balance and alignment. Gratitude, when we have had a day from hell, can help us remember that those days do end, and new days begin. As Anne Shirley said, in Anne of Green Gables, “Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” Gratitude when we are in places of joy, happiness, and love can help us hold onto those moments in our memories for those less-than-fun days.
I recently learned the idea of a favourite frame. This is when we take a moment to look back at the experience we just had - whether it is a class we participated in, an intimate experience with our partner, or even just looking back at the day - and finding a gem of experience, or an observation that we want to remember and then sharing it with another to lock it into our soul. I love seeing ‘ff: when they said this’, in the comment section of a live stream or on a Zoom call. It makes me look at that frame with fresh eyes.
How do you keep your gratitudes? Is there some new way that you long to try? Do you share the things that bring you gratitude? Or are they private - for your eyes only? Would you suggest a way to me that is different than what I have mentioned? Are you part of any gratitude groups? (I tried those for a while, but found keeping up with them was too challenging at the time).
There are literally thousands of ideas for retaining our gratitude moments, with journaling at the TOP of the list. I personally use journaling, art and public posting as ways to mark my gratitudes. I try to write five gratitudes at the end of my journal time in the morning - and I long to write some at the end of the day (I just wish that falling into bed wasn’t the way for me so often - some gratitudes here is ‘I have a comfortable bed to fall into,’ and ‘I have about 85% of my energy back most of the time since my cancer journey’). In my art I often add a small piece into the corner that brings my to joy - my current favourite medium is collage.
When I process some of my uncomfortable feelings with a friend, I often end with something to be grateful for. Sometimes it is related to the situation that brought me to the uncomfortable feelings, sometimes it’s just random so I can move back into my day feeling a little bit lighter. I personally feel better when I do this, but someone else might not. And I know that the friend feels better leaving the conversation on an up note rather than a down one (I asked).
As always with love,
'I am grateful for the opportunity to share this with the world, so we can all move into a place of light.'