Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Adopting a Gratitude Attitude

Life took a strange and painful twist over the New Year.

Nothing I can, or will, share here,
except to say that at times such as this
it becomes even more necessary to adopt what I have recently heard called a
"gratitude attitude".

St. Paul recommends that:-

Whatever is true, Whatever is honourable,
Whatever is right, Whatever is pure,
Whatever is lovely, Whatever is of good repute,
If there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise,
Let your mind dwell on these things.......
And the peace of God shall be with you.

I must confess that there have been many moments
in the last weeks when my mind was dwelling entirely somewhere other
than on the positives,
and that as a consequence peace has often eluded me.

It so easily happens when I'm exhausted.
Caring for the ones I love slips down a gear from merely caring,
to plain gnawing anxiety.

How much more necessary then to put the habit
of holding the sweet "normal" blessings of life constantly before me.
Then when the pressures mount, I'll have the scaffolding of my
"gratitude attitude"
so firmly in place that I won't fall apart.

A bit like a whale bone corset for the mind and spirit,
but hopefully with greater flexibility.

If all this sounds quaint and other-worldly,
a sort of
"what I don't acknowledge cannot hurt me,"
head in the sand stuff,
I'd like to point out that the newer
positive psychology and cognitive therapy movements
which help people cope with depression, stress and anxiety disorders
incorporate learning to
continually note the positives,
("counting your blessings", in old parlance)
as a corner stone of their methodology.

I love it when modern psychology apes the bible and the wisdom of the ages!

So there you have it. My New Year habit is
a gratitude diary
in which I list everything from the smallest to the greatest blessing of each day.

For example the sound of rain against the window
can be listed as a blessing.
O.k. it is from the comfort of my chair by the fire and I am Welsh,
which makes me positively amphibian,
but I do find it soothing.

Mostly, it has to be said that in the midst of all sorts of detritus which,
yes, is often caused by people,
it is people who are also the greatest blessing.

When I least expect it,
(shame on me!)
God blesses me through people.

One person who was a special blessing to me
for over thirty years was my dear friend Annie.
I went to the service of thanksgiving for her life
which followed her funeral yesterday.

There were no floral tributes.
Instead we were offered the opportunity to donate to Cancer Research.

Annie loved flowers though, so out of practice as I am,
when I got home I threw myself into making a small painting of flowers for Annie.
I don't know why, but I needed to do something.

So, rough as it is,
in gratitude for a Godly woman who radiated joy and gratitude to the end,
this is for you dearest Annie.

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