So for November I have been focusing on power of the attitude of gratitude when it comes to helping me enjoy life while still experiencing grief. It's been really helpful for me so far. I have to reiterate that I don't think I would have been ready for this thought process early on in my grief. I believe it has taken me awhile to get to a place where I can invite true gratefulness and joy back into my life. But a part of me remembers in the early days of grief, those darkened days when life seemed so pointless, so empty, so scary, gratitude helped me even then.
You see a part of me was overwhelmed with how much love and support we received from family and friends. Even though Nora was no longer in our lives, even though her love and cuddles were missing, love poured in and encompassed Nick and I in this soft blanket of caring and support. We were grateful for this. This outpouring of love is what kept us alive and was like a rope out of the dark hole we had been slung into by life, and noticing my gratitude for all my family and friends is what really started my path to healing. I reached out to these beloved earthly angels through a letter I wrote a few weeks after Nora passed as token of my gratitude. Here is the letter from the early days of my grief but also from my gratitude.
That letter was the start to me wanting to use gratitude to help heal my grief. I just didn't know it yet. Now, months later, I see the importance of gratitude and my attitude about my pain and sorrow. They are like opposite ends of a compass, both must co-exist for balance to occur.
No Complaining Day
Yesterday I practiced gratitude all day by challenging myself to a NO COMPLAINING DAY! It was HARD. I did great in the morning, when I was getting ready for work and by myself, but the minute I said hi to the receptionist at work on my way to my office I did what every Midwesterner does. I made small talk about the weather and guess what, in Minnesota it's COLD right now, so my first complaint came out of my mouth.
Then later in the day I noticed myself while with a client, having all these judgements and thoughts about checking in with a coworker and complaining about my session with this client. Then I realized I was planning in my mind to COMPLAIN ON PURPOSE!!! What is that? So, I was proud of myself when I didn't and was mindful of how that could impact my mood.
Throughout the day it got easier and the less I complained, the more I focused on the positive through not focusing on the negative by complaining, I became happier. By the time I went home from work, I was in a GREAT MOOD!!! It was awesome. I felt lighter, more content, and overall like a better person for choosing the high ground.
I think all and all I complained 8 times yesterday, but no one's perfect. Let's get this straight, I'm not complaining about complaining. :)
I know it's hard to have a positive attitude and be grateful for things when life has stacked the deck against you, but sometimes a simple act of not complaining can make your day a little easier, if you feel ready to accept the challenge.