Please log in or Create a Profile to post a comment.
I keep in front of me at my workstation at home a passage from Ralph Waldo Emerson (“Finish each day and be done with it…”) that reminds me to not sweat the small stuff. In the grand scheme of things, we tend to overcomplicate trivial things. This isn’t to say that horrific, challenging things don’t happen, but there is always opportunity to find something in the midst of all of that, that allows us to be grateful for the many blessings we have; that small shift always changes your perspective for the better. It is in the dark depths of those times of heartbreaking despair when we most need to reach out for the light that is inevitably always there.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
I remind myself how small my problems are, and I visit this site.
Asleep and dreaming, usually. Life is always difficult, forever complicated (it would be a drag otherwise). Do I really have this much free time, or am I just forgetting something profoundly important? Somewhere in this constant sh!tstorm of chronic illness that is front and center to the relentless ambiance of minor frustrations is the quiet realization of what a truly fortunate man I am.
When the storm is in full fury, it is pretty much survival mode – moment by moment. The focus narrows, so there isn’t much room for anything else. As the skies open, so does the focus.
I talk about it with drunks. I head into the woods away from the insane society that feels so proud of themselves. I cross my legs and breathe deeply. Let me stick to that for now
I appreciate your being candid, LX. Gratitude is sometimes indirect, healing is messy
I got covid–out of the blue. Things really sharpen when you are on the way to the ER in an ambulance because you can’t catch your breath.
I have had the good fortune of being healthy most of my life, so this was a big scare. I am so grateful for the staff that cared for me in the ER, and for medical insurance, and for the love and support of family and friends through this.
When life is difficult I find that my gratefulness practice is thee most important time to practice gratefulness. Being grateful, reminding myself about all I have, all I am thankful for, is key in difficult times. It reminds me of how blessed I truly am. It changes how I view the difficulty. I am reminded of all that I have come thru & that this too shall pass.
Peace & Love to All here.
I try not to think. Just do it. Remembering what I really want and why I am here. By the way. I like todays “word of the day” very very much. Thanks to the author and gratefulness.org.
By spending time outside, or even looking out at the natural setting behind me, noticing the details, the growth (lots of baby leaves on the trees suddenly!), the birds and other visitors. By breathing deeply and self talk, listening to music, talking to someone – usually one of my daughters. All in all, slow down, breathe deeply, and pay attention.
That is the probably the most important time to exercise gratefulness. Find moments to pause, be intentional, and take a few steps back to see more broadly. There is always something for which to be grateful. Then get back to working through the difficulty.
My son, who never meets a stranger, reminds me often, “Every day’s a good day, Mama.” Eckhart Tolle’s quote: “Don’t turn a situation into a problem,” is a helpful reminder. The awareness that when I’m overly anxious, I’m in the past or future because the strength, the grace, I need is always available in the NOW. The give and take of consciously focusing on my breath calms me and reminds me of the give and take of life. I forsake the “Why ME” syndrome for the “Live my questions” mode. “What is IS” and I do my best to let it teach me. I find that Willingness and Wisdom are deeply related.
Carol, love your response. You & your son are wise people. Blessings for a beautiful day.
I have been lucky. My life has been mostly pretty easy lately. My practices will hopefully sustain me when life inevitably gets rough. I like to think I’m developing helpful habits. I can also reflect on people that have kept their gratitude intact while enduring unthinkable suffering, as examples of strength and graciousness.
I take deeper breaths to rid myself of fight/flight/freeze. If I can I go for a walk. The movement gives me time and space in which to let go of the thoughts I’m likely chewing on. Looking at nature’s beauty and bounty remind me that the trees will leaf out every spring whether or not the thing I’m chewing on resolves the way I want it to, and I rest my mind there.
This resonates with me. It gives me a sense of peace to observe the phases of the moon, or the progression of the spring ephemerals, but for a long time I couldn’t really explain why. Terry Tempest Williams put it well and succinctly, I think, when she said, “Peace is the perspective found in patterns.” I’ve felt that to be true.
Add appropriate ‘inner light’ exercises for those particular “difficulties”, they all will end with
“God of Life Love and mercy, enlighten our minds so that we may understand you as the truth. Purify our hearts to reflect your Love towards you and towards all our fellow human beings.”
“Bless our steps that we can follow you”.
In a strange juxtaposition, I’ve found that some of the most painful times of my life have brought with them a heightened sense of beauty. It wasn’t something that I actively or consciously sought, but along with the despair, all of my senses became elevated, like I acquired a hyper-sensitivity to the beauty of a single moment. I can’t adequately explain it, and it didn’t last, except in memory. It’s just a sense and depth of beauty that I’ve never experienced in times of ease.
I’ve had the same experience. I saw the world so clearly, in so much detail, when I had found a lump and feared it was cancer. It wasn’t, fortunately, but many, many years later I can still remember sitting in my back yard on the green grass with trees leafed out overhead and the blue sky and marveling at how precious it all was.
I try to look at the things that aren’t so bad in my life right now, nature for example the birds, the sunset/sunrises. The sun peaking out from a stormy day.
First, I let it in. I let whatever has happened into my mind and soul and acknowledge it. Only after doing that can I move on. At that point, I can look at it, hold it, and respond. Sometimes I have to do something physical, other times I need to journal it.
Only after doing these things can I be in a grateful state, usually remembering I am not alone, and that there are people who care about me and others that can help me.
“Yes, and …”
Today’s question is particularly apt as I have struggled lately with anger about my neighbor’s tree falling on my house a few weeks ago.
Yesterday I became frustrated with my ruminating and “yelled” at myself, “Yes, you are angry, and what else?” Instead of more rants, grateful thoughts flowed in – the beautiful music I had on at that moment, the dinner I would soon eat, the feeling of being done with my daily chores, the anticipation of picking up the book I’m reading.
The gratefulness didn’t cancel out my misfortune or the difficulties of being put out of my house, but it brought my mental scales back into balance.
It was a good lesson to re-learn. Yes, life is hard, and there is much to be grateful for. Both can be true at the same time.
Years ago I would change the lyrics of Song of Joy to just the words Thank You and then I’d sing it to the space I was in. These days I come to this practice space. I also redo the Mindfulness Pillar of the Foundations of Well Being course. I also put some attention to trying to express thank you in ways that hopefully are meaningful for the recipient.
I come here most days and fill out five things I am grateful for even if they are difficult to see
I look at challenging situations and figure out what I am supposed to learn from them and then feel grateful for that learning
Perseverance……one step at a time, one day at a time.
When life is difficult, and for example, when we’re in the middle of a crisis or emergency, being aware of what there still is to be grateful for is terribly difficult. Let’s not kid ourselves here. What has worked for me in the past, which I actually learned from doing disaster response training many years ago, is to get out a piece of paper, pause, take a breath, and make a simple list of where blessings and positive things continue to be present even as I/we are in the middle of facing a potentially life altering challenge. Reading our list aloud to ourselves, then folding it into our pockets further reinforces what is still good and happening. It almost seems too simple, but it works.
Kevin, thank you for your response. I too, write down the “simple” things I am grateful for in times of crises. When reviewing them they don’t seem so simple after all. Have a joy filled day.
I love the idea of carrying a list in my pocket. So much of life and so many of my thoughts take on a virtual form that could vanish. I write in a journal every day to have that actual, physical record. The list in the pocket, though–I could take that out and look at it if I needed to remember.
I still say “Thank You” to the Universal source of Light when challenging times happen. I know the experience is not done to me, but for me to grow in my ability to pass it on to others. The challenges are woven into my story to be shared.
By having faith and maintaining positivity. Today’s Word for the Day really exemplifies that. “Gratitude is the capacity to stare doubt, loss, chaos and despair right in the eye and say, ‘I am still here.’”
Diana Butler Bass
Hi Michele, Diana Butler Bass wrote a poem called “I Am Still here.” You might be able to locate it on the Internet.
Your sharing reminded me of a Process Poem I wrote in 2016. I share it below:
That’s Life or Is It? by Carol Ann Conner
Looking not seeing
Fighting and fleeing
Refusing to flow
Hearing not listening
Fearing and fretting
Not letting go
Existing not living
Clinging not letting
Myself be now here
Moping not coping
Groping not greeting
Seeds that I’ve sown
Or Life is:
Working and playing
Tasting the fruit
Giving and taking
Facing and feeling
Embracing my roots
Knowledge and knowing
Doing while being
Caring and daring
Trusting and creating
a world we can all share
Thank you Carol. Beautiful poem.
Life isn’t difficult. It’s the mind set that is difficult. If I encounter a situation or experience that I label difficult then it is that way. It’s my reactions to whatever is occurring that I’m experiencing.
For me gratefulness practice is also practice of humbleness and letting go over and over. I don’t think I can remove any of the elements that make up a grateful mindset – gratefulness is an open empty mind that allows everyone and everything.
( of course this isn’t always easy to practice- I’m by no means saying I can do this always. Thanks for your support friends. )
Antoinette, love the line “….humbleness and letting go over and over”. Thank you for your thoughtful response.
Hugs & blessings to You.❤️🙏
I just keep doing it. It’s my routine now. And, despite difficulties, there is always something to be grateful for.
I struggle when time poor, I often have work deadlines and can be flat out for 18 hours a day. I need to practice pausing briefly, say whilst making a drink, to step outside into my garden and take in my surroundings and feel gratitude for the gift of the day and my strength to work through it.
To acknowledge the difficulties, neither ignoring them nor fighting against through reacting but be aware and find the best reply to it, in stillness or in action, and also in the mean time to re-member that life contains all in one moment, that beauty and love is present in any moment as an expression of life itself. To remember to turn awareness to it even in moments of despair. Not at all easy, and for me still work in progress, but possible. To embrace both poles in one situation or moment brings beauty to the difficulty and deepens Love, that how it feels to me by now.
Lovely Ose! So true! Thanks for being here !
In the moments when life is difficult, the pain can overshadow everything. I just finished the anniversary of Karel’s death and I thought that I could now deal with it better. But the pain was so sharp again. What eased the pain was to remember that Karel was a very happy man. I really am very grateful for that. Living with him was wonderful, natural, loving. Then I think how nice I have had my life with him; that takes the sharpness away. My feeling are transforming into gratitude.
A hug from an internet friend for your pain and for the many memories that keep him alive in your heart.
Thank you, Barb 🌷
Give yourself the gift of free bi-monthly inspiration including uplifting articles, diverse stories, supportive practices, videos, and more, delivered with heart to your inbox.