The Gratitude Lesson
Let’s be honest. We typically reflect on gratitude in the month of November, which makes perfect sense since it aligns well with the holiday, Thanksgiving. It’s kind of a rule, right? Well, why does gratitude have to be confined to a particular month? What if we practiced gratitude EVERY month? Here’s a radical thought…what if we practiced it EVERY DAY?! I was confronted with this notion very abruptly in August. A situation that challenged my faith as well as what I know to be true as a leadership, wellness and fitness coach. I experienced the full, frontal Gratitude Lesson and I just have to share it with you!
September is a great time to reset; embrace the changing weather, and get back to the basics after a summer filled with activities and adventures. So, get your coffee, settle in, and read on.
Gratitude is a Super Power
Let me give some brief context about what happened to me in August that resulted in my discovery around the power of gratitude. July 28th I went in for planned eye surgery; although a common procedure, a history of issues in my right eye made this a more complicated, though not impossible, task for the Let me give some brief context about what happened to me in August that resulted in my discovery around the power of gratitude. July 28th I went in for planned eye surgery; although a common procedure, a history of issues in my right eye made this a more complicated, though not impossible, task for the surgical team. A 40-minute surgery turned into 2.5 hours on the table! I knew the moment when “things went south.”
Maybe being a science geek has some drawbacks because I understood the medical banter and orders urgently barked from the surgeon to his staff. The next day’s post-op exam included a referral to KU Eye Center, where a specialist would take over my case. After an evaluation at KU that same day, I was scheduled for another surgery that Monday, August 1st.
Thankfully, the KU surgeon did not want me to be alert for the surgery so off to sleep land I went for the duration of the surgery with an optical block for good measure. Surgery was successful! Unfortunately, 4 days later I suffered an internal bleed event. Back to KU for evaluation! Good news, no significant damage, everything will be fine. Bad news, the blood “glob” as I call it, is now completely obscuring my vision. No set projection on how long it would take for the blood to fully dissipate. Could be weeks or more than a month! At that time, my vision was ZERO in that eye. Put a white piece of paper against one of your eyes…that’s what I saw.
“Trust the process,” is what my doctor told me. Aside from sleeping at a 45-degree angle, taking my meds, and abiding by his restrictions, there was nothing that I could do to affect the outcome.
Oddly, from the day after the first surgery onward, I was never worried about the final outcome. I knew as a Core Energy coach that choosing my perspective would aid in my body’s ability to heal. Therefore, accepting the current reality as IS, and the outcome as whatever may BE, was vital. As a person of faith I prayed and asked the Lord to put peace in my heart, that I was willing to accept the outcome according to His plan for me. I felt an immediate uplifting response. Next, I thought hard every day about what I CAN do rather than what I can’t do. I listed out what I was grateful for every morning and every night.
This was transformative! Gratitude set my heart and my mind to focus on opportunities rather than obstacles. It became my Super Power. Despite the pain, despite the loss of vision, gratitude fueled my happiness and enabled me to rise above my circumstance. Gratitude allowed me to go beyond thankfulness and access the world of full acceptance, peace, and joy.
This confounded many well-wishing friends and family members. They couldn’t understand how I could be so upbeat. “Doesn’t she understand that her vision might not return?” “How can she be so flippant?” Some, thinking that I may be in some state of denial, felt the need to explain to me the gravity of my situation. Others wanted to blame the original surgeon, sure that he must have done something wrong. No, I understood my predicament very clearly. I was merely choosing my outlook and embracing my new, gratitude super power!
Fast forward to September 2nd. The journey is not yet over, but my eye surgeon was thrilled with the progress. Back on August 5th when tasked to read the eye chart, my response was “What chart?” I could see nothing. At the September 2nd exam, I could see the chart and my vision was assessed at 20/25!! Yes, there is more healing to go, trust the process.
You don’t have to wait for a personal crisis to leverage gratitude in your life! Here are some simple steps to get you on your way to living more joyfully regardless of your situation. You may even choose to leverage the 5-Minute Journal from Intelligent Change, I highly recommend it!
1. Set aside 5-10 minutes in the morning, before you brush your teeth, before you get dressed or check your email on your phone. Pick a place where you will be uninterrupted.
2. Write down three things that you are grateful for in your life, in that moment. You can do this in your own journal, the one I recommended, or on notecards, whatever works best for you. It may be simple things like getting a good night’s sleep, or it may be a relationship, or it may be that you smell bacon cooking in the kitchen! List three things that you are grateful for and you’re done. It’s that simple.
3. Set aside 5-10 minutes before you go to bed. Again, pick a quiet place. Write down three more things that you are grateful for as you reflect on your day. Again, these can be simple such as someone brought in yummy muffins at the office, or you were able to attend your son’s football practice, you get the idea. Wrap up with writing down one thing that you learned from the day. That’s it.
Repeat this process every day. Throughout the day, focus on CAN rather than cannot. Do this consistently and you, too, will unleash your Gratitude Super Power!
Avoid the Comparison Trap
Whether it’s at work, at home, on vacation, or reflecting on our goals, professional or personal, falling into the comparison trap is a sure way to feel bad about yourself! Yes, it’s only natural to compare how you are doing with others. Yet, it is NOT required.
How many times have you felt pretty happy with yourself regarding an activity or accomplishment, only to later feel frustrated or sad because you discovered that someone else did ‘more,’ did it ‘better,’ or fill-in-the-blank outcome that you felt was better than yours. All happy feelings squashed at that moment. So STOP doing it!
Focus instead on the goodness of what YOU did, the fun and exhilaration of what YOU accomplished, the joy you felt about YOUR-self. Comparing to others stems from catabolic energy, that draining and destructive energy/outlook that seeks to take a world of endless possibilities and distill it into a binary set of good/bad, right/wrong, win/lose options. Let go of judgment. Let go of comparing. Instead, embrace the moment and experience the joy and fulfillment of being YOU.
Remember, what others say to you and the way that they say it is more about them than you. If someone is criticizing the very thing that you are happy about, recognize that their energy/attitude is about them, not you. Claim your joy, resist abdicating to others simply because they want to steal your joy. “Misery loves company,” is a saying…not a prophesy!
The more you increase your self-awareness and exercise your choice in the moment, the more you will see the good in your life and around you. Sound hard? I can guide you through the journey! Click on the image or the button at the bottom of this newsletter to learn more.
Reset Your Health & Fitness
As we enjoy the changing weather, beautiful colors, and begin to pack away our tank tops and shorts, it’s the perfect time to reset our health and fitness routines. Doing this proactively will set up a plan for success. Rather than packing on the pounds as if preparing to hibernate, you can continue or improve your health and fitness level all through Autumn and Winter!
Setting a solid routine will enable you to enjoy a few holiday snacks and parties without digging into the back of the closet for the bigger sizes. And, you’ll sidestep the stress that often accompanies the holiday season.
For a limited time, take advantage of a significant discount on all my Total-Solution Packs which come with dedicated 1:1 coaching! I am happy to set a plan for you that includes a nutritional program, exercise program options, as well as organic & healthy supplements such as super-food shakes. Those who know me, know how much I love food! I am not a fan of restrictive diets; instead, I advocate nutrition plans with a planful mindset. Just like choosing your energy/attitude, you can choose your relationship with food and exercise! Click on the image to get started today.
BE the Change You want to See!