Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Reclaiming Joy III: Gratitude

“A miracle is a shift in perception.” – Marianne Williamson

In my last post, I talked about the scientific fact that nature abhors a vacuum, and that when you release negative energy from your life, something else will rush in to fill that space. And wow oh wow has that proven to be true in my life.

After my negativity fast, I made gratitude the centerpiece of my "reclaiming joy" experiment. At night, I journal about the moments I was grateful for that day. As a result, what happens is I am always looking for things to record - and that in itself brings me into the present moment. There are so many tiny moments that I would have missed if I was caught up in my head, only focused on my problems - like the kids playing and laughing together, a rare bird on my deck, a smile from a stranger. Suddenly the world seems full of things to be grateful for simply because I am awake. I am feeling a shift inside. Marianne Williamson would call that a miracle.

But an even deeper proof was yet to come.

With this new, lighter, positive heart, I believe a space was created for the Universe to meet me where I am. And here’s what happened:

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth … that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

-W.H. Murray

Sunday, as I was getting ready to perform at the Veteran’s hospital (another way to immediately feel happy- do something kind for someone else) I got a random email. This woman said she was a segment producer for Huffington Post Live, and she had read my blog and wanted to know if I would be on the show the next day. What?

I called and asked how she found me. She said, “We are doing a show on the nature of suffering, and Nancy (the host) asked me to find someone who had lost everything and was still grateful. So I googled, “How I Lost Everything and Why I’m Grateful” and there you were.” I was floored. She googled the EXACT title of the blog I’d posted on the anniversary of my fire last year. Coincidence? Or Providence?

The next day, a little online interview that I thought three people would see, got picked up by AOL’s Top Stories, breathing life into this book (Wind To Wildfire) I’ve been trying to midwife into the world for over a year now. 

If this isn’t evidence that this reclaiming joy stuff is working, I don’t know what is.

The Path to Gratitude

There have been times in my life where I have been so low, I could not think of a single thing to be grateful for. But now, when I sink to that dark place, this is a little game I play with myself. I call it the Castaway Game.

I pick up my pen and paper, then imagine myself stranded on a desert island with no food, and nothing but a volleyball named Wilson to love. And then I start to write all the things I would pine for. Suddenly, every person in my life, every circumstance, becomes a blessing. Even the garbage truck with his noisy clanging while I’m meditating, the annoying dog that barks all day- even those things. Suddenly I become aware of the great cup of coffee I’m drinking and the fresh fruit on my table and I feel so damn lucky.

So if you’re ever feeling down on your luck, try this game. Put yourself on that island with Wilson and let the words fly.  And then... see if the shift in perception becomes your very own miracle. 

Here is a short excerpt from the Huffington Post Live interview, where I talk about what I learned from losing everything. 


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