Spirit Blog

Personal reflections on a spiritual journey...

In a Funk? Be Grateful.

March 26th is my mother's birthday. She has been deceased for six years. I miss her. Sometimes, I sulk. I wish she could have met her grandchildren. I want to hear her laugh again. I want to do another Sunday crossword with her...

And with all this I feel an overwhelming sense of unfairness. And sometimes I feel pretty down. 

Yesterday, while at the cemetery, I wondered what I might say to my three-year-old when he asks about her one day, when I need to explain death, when I need to explain the tears...

I think I will say she is no longer living in her body. Her presence, her energy, her spirit, is felt but she is no longer living in her body. She is no longer with us in that way. 

While pondering this, I was suddenly overcome with a wave of gratitude, a sense of true clarity. Here I am, in this body, with this breath, alive, and well. Despite whatever hardship I may face, I am still here. I still get to wake up each day, take deep breaths, listen to music, dance, do yoga, kiss my children, hold my husband's hand, laugh, cry, hurt, read, dream, be.

Wow. 

And so I conclude that sometimes the only way out of a funk (any kind of funk) is to embrace this practice of gratitude. Especially when I am stuck in my head, having one of those days, unable to snap out of those negative, self-pitying thoughts, my only defense is to begin listing all of the reasons for which I am truly blessed. Actually naming each and every thing, from the most mundane to the incredibly ethereal, is the fastest way to shift my perspective.

Thank you for the clouds; the fresh air from a walk in nature; my feet; the sound of children's laughter; hot tea with milk; the way the full moon looks from my bedroom window; dancing; a warm bed with flannel sheets; the way my dog follows me all around the house; the feeling of true love; my big milk chocolate eyes; toes in the sand on a beach in August; abundance; my new orange yoga mat; rice cakes dripping with gobs of peanut butter; awareness; rainy days; hugs; the way we all say goodnight...

The list could go on and on or change completely. The most important way of practicing this method is to keep looking for more ways to say thanks. Who you are actually thanking is irrelevant. It is the act of gratitude that shifts one's negative thought patterns into something lighter. And if you feel stuck thinking of what it is that makes you grateful, simply say thank you. Even if you don't necessarily feel it, fake it, and say it. It will work, regardless.