Do you know what is absolutely hysterical when you are overtired?
Reading “Once Upon A Potty” to your 3 year old before bed.
Trying to keep a straight face.
At one point, I looked at my son and his ever-concentrated face as he was listening to my brilliant reading skills and he looked up at me with a face that read, “Why’d you stop? What happens next with Joshua’s wee-wee and poo-poo?” I burst out laughing. To which Emmett started to laugh hysterically in return which, made me laugh even harder. Leading up to our routine of brushing teeth, books and bedtime, I couldn’t wait to get my kids to bed because I was so tired and just wanted a minute to myself. As we laughed together, I thought “Thank you”. After a long day of “To Do’s”, tidying, playing, meal prepping, etc., laughter with my son was precisely what I needed.
That very thought, “Thank You”, has become conditioned in my mind over the past few weeks as I have been working through the book, “The Magic” by Rhonda Byrne. I purchased this book several years ago and started it but never finished it. The book was the reason I started writing out ten blessings every single day. One day, my mom phoned me for our daily chat and she mentioned that she had been reading the book and was doing the exercises every morning. She had noticed a significant increase in her energy and an improvement in her mood. So I found my copy, dusted it off and decided to start doing the daily exercises as well.
After the first day, I started noticing little things throughout the day worthy of thankfulness. It was not that I was noticing these things and having this euphoric moment of utter awe and elation. It was more just a subtle observation. To some this may sound silly, because of course there are an infinite number of things to be grateful for in life – small to large items, but that first day, I got stuck at number six. As I continued on with the practice, however, the exercises helped me to see the infinite number of blessings that surround me in every moment, veiled in the simple to complex details of my life.
The practice of gratitude has come in and out of my life several times in the last few years. I have kept gratitude journals and would commit to the practice of writing every morning. Sometimes I would veer away from the habit but when I wanted to add some positivity and adopt a more uplifted energy, I would begin again. The way in which I have been thankful has changed over the years and especially so this past year. Sometimes, thankfulness comes in when I am desperate for things to heal, improve, or sustain themselves. Other times, gratitude has been a polite detail in my every day communications – a couple of words effortlessly uttered to establish my own courtesy and proprietorship of manners. And then there are other times in which gratitude is a quiet space of untouchable peace, where I realize that the best possible outcome was granted to me in a specific circumstance, in the pleasure of my present state of life, and in the simple yet profound way in which I am aware of the fact that I have reason to be grateful. When this quiet space descends on me, I know I am in the sweet spot. This is joy. This is where the magic is.
Prior to the end of my marriage, I was content with my life but still felt an occasional yearning for fulfillment, an emptiness that I could not understand at times. Counting my blessings was kind of like a nagging mother telling you to watch your spending habits. My list of gratitude’s would resemble worried prayers to replace present absences with hope and miracles. Writing them down felt like an irritating reminder that I didn’t have a reason to feel anything but happy because of all the wonderful things in my life. For instance, last year, when there was disconnect in my marriage which I thought was due to the lack of balance in our lives, writing my blessings became intention setting. I would say “Thank You” for something that I wished for, hoping that by being grateful for it in advance meant that my prayer would be answered.
“Thank you so much for a connected, loving, honest and accepting relationship with my husband.”
“Thank you for more balance in our lives — thank you for adequate time and space for work, family, and my marriage.”
“Thank you for the beautiful house we live in, the success of our careers, enough money to pay our bills, etc.”
To a certain extent, I was grasping and desperately wanting when I wrote these types of gratitude’s. I only realize now how truly hard I was pleading for a happy outcome.
A friend said to me, that despite the fact that I had been grasping while praying and counting these blessings, that maybe indeed they did come true. Maybe the truth is, I was never going to have a marriage that was unconditionally loving, accepting and honest, with him. Consequently, the universe removed my husband from my life to clear space for a loving, accepting and honest relationship not only with myself but then with another who could convey those things as well. I think this is quite possibly true.
I have changed so much over the past year. A year ago, I didn’t know what it felt like to love and accept myself exactly as I am. As a result, I certainly wouldn’t have been able to discern the look and feel of it in my marriage. The notion, that there is now space and potential for an unconditionally loving and honest partnership fills me with gratitude.
There were two different concepts that I came across over and over in the last year as a means to increase positivity and happy vibes while I was trying to move forward in my life. One was affirmations and the other was gratitude. Affirmations are unquestionably helpful in changing negative self-talk and they continue to be helpful in replacing limiting beliefs with new and more enabling ones.
For me, thankfulness was pure magic.
It was like seeing the world through new eyes. The world was more simple, more clear and more focused. This sounds very whimsical and maybe unbelievable that my perception of life and the world I lived in could change so drastically just by counting my blessings, but it really did. Rather than worrying about what would happen next, what future life I was going to live, I woke up and became present to the fact that for right now, I was living like a Queen.
I was waking up in crisp, clean sheets, to the view of a magnificent morning sky from my bedroom window.
I began the day with a “Good Morning, Mommy” from my healthy, happy son and discussion about our OPTIONS for breakfast that morning.
I started each day with the ritual of a delicious hot cup of coffee.
I was born in a first world country, where women are entitled to literacy and an education – therefore, I could read a passage from a book and write my thoughts out on paper.
Because I was afforded an advanced education, I obtained a college degree, and I am a professional. And this career will provide for my children and I without requisite of another source of income.
Yes, my divorce is devastating and no, it was not what I had planned but things could certainly be more challenging, more painful and with fewer pleasures such as those crisp, clean sheets and mornings met with smiles from my children. And so, I decided that rather than constantly worry about what will be and how much more my life may change in the next year, I will relish all of the things that currently exist in my world. I also came to realize, that the things that I enjoy, that currently surround me — I created the life that contained those things. So rather than worry about those things being taken from me, I would much rather focus on knowing and accepting that if I am responsible for these extremely delightful things, that I will continue to create a life with much to love, today and in the future.
When you’re in a rut and you’re trying to see your way out, thankfulness is magical but it is also a practice and a habit just like healthy eating and exercising. It is something that takes a little bit of discipline, a little bit of patience, and a quiet awareness.
After I started reading and practicing the exercises in the book, slowly over the next several days, shifts occurred. I started to notice a more positive mindset in myself. I noticed I smiled more, laughed more freely and started to say “Thank You” in my head throughout the day for everything. When people were generous with their time or helped me out in some way, I looked them in the eye and said “Thank you.” When friends gave me gifts, paid for meals or would check in to chat and see how things were going, I whole heartedly thanked them and the universe for putting them in my life. In that moment of thanking them, I sat for a moment and would think about how whatever that they had given me – whether it was their friendship, time or gifts, were things that I could just as easily have not experienced. Because I had started counting blessings, I also began to recognize them and I savored these beautiful moments.
Magically, the blessings multiplied and writing down ten separate blessings was a breeze. Then the day would follow and there would be more and more reasons to be grateful arriving throughout the day. Waking up feeling happy and appreciative was magical in itself. After almost a year of waking up feeling worried, unsettled, uncertain and unsure of what to do next, this new state was absolutely exciting and blissful. Then, on top of feeling good it appeared as if the more blessings I noticed, the more abundantly they continued to flow into my life. Some might say this is an increase in awareness coupled with a widening scope of what subjectively constitutes a blessing. However, I believe it is magic, weaving breathtaking miracles into my life and I am loving every minute of it.