Word-Of-the-Week #717: Grateful

May 3, 2018 by  

Gratefulwarmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful.

How often do you feel thankful for all you have? Do you think you could feel grateful when faced with a tragedy? Can you be appreciative even on a bad day?

This is the follow up to last week’s Washington Post article “Resilience isn’t just being tough; it’s a skill you can develop. Here’s how I did it” by Steven Petrow. To Recap he wrote, 

“Resilience, it dawned on me, was more like balance than toughness. As I discovered with yoga, I can easily do what’s called tree pose (balancing on one leg) on some days; those are the days when my body can make the constant recalculations and readjustments necessary to remain steady. Other days I fall over like, well, a dead tree. That tends to happen when I’m ill, angry, distracted or tired. Over time, however, I’ve developed better ways to deal with what irks me, and my toppling days are fewer. 

My journey to resilience began through serendipity. Soon after my mother died, I was browsing at a local bookstore when I picked up the “Mindfulness Journal.” Author David deSouza, a co-founder of the meditation website Satorio, wrote, “You’re going to form the habits of mindfulness and meditation.” I would need to set an intention, he said, and be consistent in doing my homework. As he told me in an interview: “Meditation results in subtle, almost unnoticeable positive changes in our behavior, adding up over time, like compound interest. It helps you to identify the cause and effect of your emotions and actions, giving you the insight to say, ‘I am behaving like this because I am stressed, angry or hungry.’  

The homework was easy: Ask myself when I woke up, “How do you feel this morning?” and then give myself a grade from 1 (bad) to 10 (excellent). Record my exercise: Did I walk, go to the gym, do yoga, anything else?

Then the big question: “What are you grateful for today?” DeSouza said “it is uplifting, even on a bad day, to find something that will allow you to end the day on a positive note “and to then drift into a restful sleep.” 

The day my father died, I was grateful for the support of my brother and sister, the peace that I hoped Dad had found, and the chocolate ice cream neighbors brought over. 

Finally, the little book asks gently: “Did you meditate? For how long?” DeSouza is gentle but firm about this: “Meditation teaches us that nothing is permanent and during dark times, provides the knowledge that we will see the light again.” 

In the midst of all this, I saw my new circumstances as an opportunity to change, to move in a new direction. I also started seeing myself more like the willow tree — no longer weeping. It turns out that the secret to my resilience was what Brach knew all along: “Resilience grows when we become intentional about bringing our best to difficult life seasons.” 

That is guidance we all could use in these dark days.” 

This week’s focus is on being grateful. Have you ever asked yourself how you feel in the morning? How about keeping track of your daily exercise routine? Have you ever thought about what you are grateful for at the end of your day?

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