Yes, there’s still room for gratitude even during this time of a pandemic, unrest, fear, and divisiveness. Gratitude starts within each of us individuals. I know there is so much to complain about, to rail against, to feel bad about, but we also can find many things to be grateful for.

Every night I read something from one of my various books on spirituality, gratitude, positive thinking, etc. I want to go to sleep with positive thoughts and feelings rather than messages about the disturbing news of the day. In truth, in the past few months I have seriously limited my exposure to any news at all since it seems that all news is repetitious, depressing, upsetting, and disturbing. So, while we may all want to stay informed, we have to choose when and how much we listen to… We can be grateful that we have a choice in this as well…

I read a quote last night by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who survived numerous serious challenges in his life. He was asked how he lives with so much peace and love in his heart and he replied that every morning he asked himself what he could count on that day; sometimes it was only the blue sky and the brown earth, and the fact that he was still breathing. But in counting his blessings, so to speak, he reconnected to the miracle that he was still alive in this beautiful world. He said that “Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful. How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural – you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.”

We are all experiencing sorrow, loss, pain, frustration, and this list certainly can go on and on, but we can also choose to find, seek and connect to joy, contentment, pleasure, love each day and each moment as well. This is where gratitude comes in.

I spoke with someone the other day who was complaining bitterly about being quarantined in her apartment and how awful she feels not being able to spend time with her sons and grandchildren. She was thinking how fortunate other people are who have greater freedom of movement than she does, and we spoke about connecting to feelings of gratitude and being able to shift from a mindset of “woe is me” to feeling grateful for the blessings in her life. Grateful that she is healthy, can communicate with her family members, talk with her friends on the phone, take walks, visit with friends even at a social distance, etc.

I read many years ago that sun rises and sun sets are as beautiful for you as anyone else if you choose to admire them and enjoy them. They are moments to connect to feelings of gratitude and joy.

My father had a saying when anyone was too focused on the negatives in their lives, that they were suffering from ‘ocular fecalitis’. ( a sh**** outlook on life) So, while we do not have to look at life through rose-colored glasses, we can certainly choose to spend time focusing on the positives in our lives, and feeling grateful for those moments..

We can all practice what Thich Nhat Hanh teaches…what can you connect to/appreciate today? What can you enjoy or find pleasure in this moment? When you wake up each morning, you can decide on an intention for the day… Set an intention of feeling blessed, grateful, hopeful, joyful, loving, content… Pick a feeling you would like to cultivate each day. While there may be moments of frustration, upset, aggravation, etc. remind yourself that they are moments and that uplifting, positive, happy, loving moments happen as well.

If you want more guidance and support in shifting your mindset from ocular fecalitis to gratitude, you can download your Step By Step Guide… go to TakeBackYourLifeGuide.com and start today bringing gratitude into your daily life… I am grateful that I am part of your journey to Take Back Your Life… And we breathe…

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