Post Addition: Near the end of this old post from April 2012, I reference a decades old wisteria vine above my back patio that I spoke to this morning. Silly to some but meaningful to me. We just got our first freeze a couple of nights ago and today the leaves are withered and falling (see inset photo above). Each spring and summer the wisteria vine is beautiful and it flowers radiantly (see large photo). I am proud of ‘her’ and show off ‘her’ beauty eagerly to visitors. This morning I said while looking at the vine, “rest well old girl. You bring me such joy and I am grateful to you for it”. I smiled and felt really good and grateful then. Still do.
Original Post: For the first time since my twenties not long ago I went through a period as a renter instead of a home owner. This was a part of the chaos created by a very difficult divorce which took a long time to work through mentally, emotionally and financially. After over 5 years things settled to where I was able to purchase a house and I happily moved in where I live now just about this time last year.
The period of change, heartache and growth turned out to be the greatest bringer of gratitude so far in my life. If one is paying attention, lack has a tendency to bring appreciation when times of plenty arrive again. And so it is with my new home. There is much determination within not to ever lose this ‘attitude of gratitude’ within me now!
There is a saying by an unknown author that states enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. Being blessed to own my home in the past for over 25 years I had begun to take the ability to be the owner of one for granted. In the lack, the not being able to have one, I learned a whole new way of appreciating. A few weeks short of a year ago, soon after I moved into my new place, I began this blog: goodmorninggratitude.com. In 21 days I will have written here EVERY day for one full year.
What I have discovered is gratitude can be cultivated. With a bit of focus and a little practice results can be brought about that are mind-blowing. Studies have shown growing a sense of gratitude helps one maintain a more positive mood in daily life and contribute to greater emotional well-being. Over and over research has shown cultivating gratitude is one of the simpler routes to a greater sense of emotional well-being, higher overall life satisfaction, and a greater sense of happiness in life. I know for an absolute fact this is true.
Spiritual activist Marianne Williamson said Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
That quote by Ms. Williamson causes me to read it two or three times on every occasion I come across it. Her words are so deeply meaningful on a personal level. At one point I printed them out and hung the page on my fridge where it stayed for two years. There were many “down” days as I worked through the painful divorce, emotional recovery and becoming financially stable again. For a long while so much was moving away from me it took a long time to reverse the direction so what I needed was moving in my direction. My discovery most of all is my state of mind had all to do with what I was attracting and in what quantity.
Henry Ward Beecher described the way of being I had to arrive at before my life began to move forward. He wrote the unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!
So here I am years later after being served divorce papers in the airport as I arrived then finding I had been locked out (OK, thrown out) of the home I owned and lived in. I hope never to feel the panic, loss of direction and pain I experienced that day and those that followed. In spite of it all, I will be always grateful for what the agony and strife taught me.
The photo at the top is of a huge wisteria vine that is on a large pergola over my back patio. I learned from a neighbor the plant is almost 40 years old. The main two trunks from the ground are almost five inches around! For many years emotionally and mentally I was inside like the wisteria vine in winter: alive with little to show for it. Today I am more like the photo at the top taken a week ago of the wisteria vine in the full glory of spring-flowering. To look at it is to get a sense of what is blooming inside me. To have come from where I was to be where I am is nothing short of a miracle. I am deeply thankful.
The world has enough beautiful mountains and meadows,
spectacular skies and serene lakes.
It has enough lush forests, flowered fields and sandy beaches.
It has plenty of stars
and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day.
What the world needs more of is people to appreciate and enjoy it.