I enjoyed the post thoroughly and was intrigued by the idea of one second videos. I watched the Ted video on the topic then sent a note to Tim Sae Koo to ask permission to reference his post on our gratitude blog as I think this great idea needs to be shared in as many ways as possible and his “10 things I learned” post was quite well written.
If I was going to do a one second gratitude video today, it would be on the half cup of hot coffee that I spilled as I was preparing to log into my desktop computer to write today’s post. Why am I writing about that in our gratitude blog? Because my “Find the Silver Lining/ Gratitude Practice” kicked in immediately and I didn’t get upset at all.
What was good about spilling hot coffee?
As I wrote about in I love to laugh, I enjoy anything that makes me laugh. This did because right before turning the computer on, I had been watching some weight loss videos on my Chromebook while waiting to find out if I would receive permission from Tim Sae Koo to refer to his post. (Thank you for the permission.) The first thought that went through my mind when the coffee spilled and I rushed to clean up before it spread further was “well, this is one way to burn calories.” The irony of the situation made me chuckle and instantly put me in a positive frame of mine.
The second thought involved the fact that some of the things that got soaked with coffee were things I had planned to wash this week anyway so this was the (rather emphatic) nudge that I needed to do so immediately.
Then, of course, both cats were attracted by my flurry of activity and instantly went into their Snoopervisor cats mode. They were particularly attentive this time as the coffee spilled on three of their favorite toys and they followed me as I rushed to clean them up wondering why I was doing something with their toys other than playing with them. I always get a kick out of watching them in Snoopervisor mode.
There are other positive thoughts that went through my head (such as “thank goodness I had just been using the Chromebook as if it had been in its usual place, it would have gotten soaked with coffee”), but I think this is enough to show why I included spilling my coffee in today’s gratitude blog.
Experience is the best teacher
I can read about lots of scientific studies on the benefits of gratitude but it is things like this happening in my own life that actually show me why my “Silver Lining/Gratitude Practice” is so important.
How about you?
I would love to know about a time when your gratitude practice kicked in and allowed you to focus on the positives of the situation instead of getting upset.
For example, Jamey gave me a copy of the book The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz about 8 or 9 years ago. I really kept meaning to read it, along with a number of other very good books that I keep meaning to read or reread.
The truth of the matter is that I have gotten very lazy since getting my Amazon Kindle Touch (and other platforms for reading e-books) and mostly now listen to audio books or read e-books (from Amazon/Audible or Overdrive), rarely touching my library of physical books.
Thankfully, Joshua, who also writes a daily gratitude blog (“One Year of Gratitude“) and will be writing our first guest post, recently wrote about how helpful he found The Four Agreements in staying on the course he has charted for himself. Since Joshua’s chosen course is similar to my own, that was the nudge I needed to head out to the bookshelves to retrieve the book. I started it earlier this evening.
Thank you for the needed nudge, Joshua.
Was there a book you have been meaning to read that that you kept putting off until someone gave you a needed nudge? Is there something else that you are grateful to someone else for nudging you to do? We would love to hear about it in the comments below.
One of the things that keeps me going is that I have trained myself for decades to remember “there is always a silver lining.”
After not having slept well (for medical reasons) for the past three nights, I really did not want to get up at 5:45 AM this morning to take care of Jamey and the cats. Thankfully, my “silver lining” habit kicked into gear and I said to Jamey “There is always a silver lining. At least there are only two mornings of the week that you have to be at work at 8 AM.” At which point, I began to think about how happy I am that Jamey has a job that he enjoys.
That train of thought led me into my morning gratitude practice as I grabbed the broom to clean up the kitty litter the cats had tracked through the apartment overnight. (That has to be done first so that Jamey can move around freely in his wheelchair without grinding the litter into the floor.)
When I went into the living room to grab the broom and dustpan, Johnny ran happily ahead of me to her Ripple Rug letting me know she was ready for playtime. I didn’t have the energy for play until I thought about how wonderful it is that Johnny is healthy enough at this time in her life to want to and be able to play.
I played with her for a few minutes and then returned to sweeping. It turned out that Night was also in a playful mood this morning. That really helped to lift my own mood as Night has been showing some signs of deterioration, so to see both of cats acting like happy, healthy, energetic cats was an instant boost for me.
Both of our cats had a very rough start in life. When I first met Night she was a half starved, terrified feral cat. Johnny was born to a Feline Leukemia positive feral mother and came very close to dying in the first month of her life. Both of our cats are also Feline Leukemia positive which will cut their lives significantly short so we are doing are best to give them as happy of a life as we can.
So today I am grateful for
the years that I spent teaching myself to look for the silver lining so that it kicks in automatically for me now whenever I need it
two playful cats
our wheelchair accessible apartment that includes a “safe” bathtub with a shower seat and lots of grab bars for the humans and a plain tub for the cats to play in as the mood strikes them
a kitchen in which to cook food and a refrigerator with food in it (which was the gratitude I used to kick start myself enough to make breakfast for Jamey this morning)
How do you get yourself going on mornings when you really don’t want to get out of bed?
In Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder quotes her mother as saying “there is no great loss without some small gain.” I believe that taking time to focus on the gain is very important.
There are days
when I struggle to get out of bed when the alarm goes off
when one of us is sick or injured
we receive news that a family member or friend is struggling
our car needs work
one of our appliances has decided it needs a vacation
Over the years I have trained myself that each time I catch myself focusing on the negatives in a situation, I must immediately stop and list some of the things in my life that I am grateful right then and there.
I find it much easier to make good decisions about how to handle a stressful situation if I take a few minutes to step back from them and focus on my gratitude practice. That clears my head, usually lifts my mood to some degree, and allows me to take a calmer look at what is actually happening and what options are available to us.
If you have a gratitude practice, please share with us in the comments below how it has helped you.