I have reached a place in my life where what lies ahead of me is unclear, not known, a path that exists mainly on a map in my imagination. There are places I hope to go, things I wish to do, people I look forward to meeting, ways I would like to contribute and all of it is new to me.
“Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” Joseph Campbell
Campbell’s words are the sign on the trail letting me know I am heading in the right direction. They are the life raft I sit inside as I float on foreign seas. But when I wake in the night and wonder how, when, if, why, and all those named and nameless fears about the life I aim to create are so ready and insistently demanding to be talked about right then and there….I make a choice. I choose to listen to these voices and then speak my gratitude for every thought that comes to my mind.
Trying to ignore those nagging bits and pieces only results in tossing and turning. Speaking my gratitude about each and every worry has allowed me to fall back asleep. I can’t really say what alchemical process occurs when I actively become thankful about very real and pressing concerns. But something magical does occur. Some would call it prayer, others might see it as acknowledging a watchful part of oneself. What I have experienced is that gratitude quite literally reveals the next step on the trail to lead me out of hard places. It’s not that real problems disappear. Gratitude lightens the load and lets me move on. It shifts the entire focus to a more expansive view. Balance comes in and the ability to notice truly good and beautiful things that are also in my life returns. Gratitude is the oar in the raft that I use to move in fruitful directions. And when daylight arrives I am more prepared to take action rather than spin my wheels.
My mother would often remind me to have ‘an attitude of gratitude’. She knew gratitude as the machete necessary to hack through the thicket of weeds that sometimes engulf us. I am grateful to have witnessed my mother remake her life and move into directions she imagined and worked to successfully create. And I am grateful to have inherited her gratitude machete!