Gratitude

I remember the day I learned what Gratitude is. I was standing in my apartment, desperately fighting off a panic attack. It was the middle of winter, there was a foot of snow on the ground, and the daily temperature never climbed above 0° F. In my hand was my utility bill, which, in retrospect wasn’t very much…maybe $30. However, at the time, that was my weekly budget for groceries, gas and cat food and cat litter. Either I paid the bill on time and neither ate nor provided for my kitty, or I paid it late, incurring a late charge which would probably double the bill. In that moment, all my financial frustrations closed in on me, threatening to suffocate me…it took everything I had within me to keep breathing. As I stood there, struggling for breath, my fingers and toes tingling, my vision blurring, my soul desperately wanting to run away somewhere, I felt a strange calm descend on me. For just one moment, I didn’t feel all that panic…and in that one moment, I looked around me. 

What I saw was this: I had a full tank of gas in my car that would last me a week; I had groceries in my refrigerator that I could stretch for a week; I’d just bought cat food; the cat litter would last another week; my apartment was warm and efficient; I loved the colors on my wall and the way I’d decorated my apartment; I had warm blankets; I was safe; the snow was beautiful; I lived in a stunning neighborhood on a gorgeous lake; I had a job; I had a bed; I had running water; I had never-ending hot water. In short, I was ok…my needs were provided for. 

As I slowly descended back into my body, the peace came with me. I calmed down, took a deep breath and paid my utility bill, tears running down my face. I realized what it was like to be a dove, sheltered in a rock crevice, while a storm raged all around. I also realized in that moment that life is never fully good nor fully bad…it’s all mixed up together. I also realized that as long as I kept looking for that “perfect, fully good” life, I would always be miserable looking for the unattainable…and, I would miss out on the beautiful and unexpected miracles that inevitably happen in the midst of messy life. From then on, whenever I faced an overwhelming situation, I stopped, took a breath, and chose to notice the amazing and wonderful things around me in spite of the hard things looking at me, unflinchingly, in the eye.

Three months after this experience, I was offered my present job in sunny Southern California allowing me to live my heart’s passion…including making more money than I’ve made in my life. My life isn’t “perfect” according to my perfection standards, but when I think back to where I was 4 years ago, I stand in awe. My life has changed dramatically…and not just financially…in all ways. And, I think a big part of that change is because I expressed gratitude, or, as the Hebrew translates, recognized the good that also exists in every moment.

As I journey through my present challenge of personal healing and transformation, struggling to find words to express the experience or even be able to understand the experience, I know I can always fall back on gratitude…for I am surrounded by amazing and wonderful good even in the midst of this challenge. So, for now, I share my gratitude with you.

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7 Comments

  1. Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    What a beautiful, inspired post. You’re right – no matter what the circumstance, there is always some good, something to be grateful for, in the moment. And I suppose it’s the darkness that makes us so grateful for the light!

    • Seraphina said,

      Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      It is sometimes hard to be grateful for the light when there is so much darkness. In those moments, I always see a rainbow…the rain that reveals the light that surrounds me at all times.

  2. Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing. I am grateful!

  3. subtlekate said,

    Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    A beautiful post, thank you so much for sharing. It takes me back to my university days when finding 20c down the back of the lounge made me dance in joy because it brought me a packet of noodles. I am feeling grateful after reading your post. I’m heading into radiotherapy next week with a better sense of my graditude now. Thank you.

    • Seraphina said,

      Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      Thank you for sharing your journey. My soul will hold a space of compassion and support for you during your treatment next week. Much love to you.

  4. Thursday, February 16th, 2012 at 4:48 am

    Never forget your moment of clarity. Now you know that the anxious feelings triggered by “money” are illusions…you made a choice that day to not give in to the panic but to see the truth. You are surrounded by love and when you rest in that love, peace enters.

    Well done – and thank you for sharing your experience!

  5. Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 at 3:32 am

    […] Gratitude (mysoulleapt.wordpress.com) […]


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