I made an agreement with myself many years ago on the day I opened a pink hardcover book, Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. Every morning I’d read the page of the day and, as requested in the book’s introduction, I’d write five things I was grateful for. How hard could that be – Right?
I was an angry 30 something woman, having survived a severe illness, struggling with a myriad of autoimmune symptoms and in the throws of a divorce, my three, beautifully strong willed daughters depending on me. I was sick of my world, sick of the anger and sick of being sick! I was about to find out how little I knew about gratitude.
I filled notebook after notebook with my appreciative lists. At first they were polished and neat, the perfect student’s compliance, but as the weeks and months pressed on and life’s complications felt like a ship navigating an ice flow, my lists became scribbles of desperation, small screams scratched out in thin lines on a page. I couldn’t believe, and refused to accept the hole that had swallowed my light. There were days that the best I could muster was:
- I am grateful for my pillow
- I am grateful for my bed
- I am grateful for silence
- I am grateful for breath
- I am grateful for sleep
Somehow the practice of writing, I am grateful, thousands of times over, shifted something in me. The shift grew into a habit until I was seeing beauty in places I’d never paused to notice before. I remember the tipping point, a miraculous day when I realized I was feeling joy more often than not. Eventually I was even grateful for the things that felt difficult or ugly.
“The authentic self is the soul made visible” – Sarah Ban Breathnach
Today, all these years later, my life is blossoming in new directions and that pink hardcover book still occupies space by my bed. No longer filling notebooks, I carry an internal mantra of joyful graces, a symphonic vibration, too big for any one page.