I have had 5 foot surgeries, and I learned a thing or two when all was said and done.
Not just about my fellow foot doctor patients who were all at least 35 years older than me and always had extra Kleenex in their pockets or how many steps it is from my mailbox to my garage door (15) but about gratitude.
*When I was sitting on my bed with a bag of frozen peas on my black and blue foot waiting until I could take more pain meds, netflixing the afternoon away I would find my mind wandering to all the times my feet didn’t hurt.
Why didn’t I appreciate it? What was more important? I was too busy complaining about the lack of organic almond milk at the natural food store or if my kids Spanish teacher noticed how special my child’s stick figure drawing was compared to the kids. I was not contemplating how amazing it was to have a foot that could bare weight! I was not appreciating how wonderful it felt to be able to drive without feeling like hot lava was flowing up like foot. Nope, I had other issues of the day which filled my brain NOT coming from a place of gratitude.
*Think to when something really goes wrong in your own life. When life gets back to “normal” there can be a temptation to not learn from it. The pull to get back to whining about the almond milk and the Spanish teacher was strong for me, but after 5 foot surgeries, I finally got it. (I’m a slow learner on some things) What if I was thankful when things weren’t sideways? When things had not turned upside down? What could that feel like?
I write this from an airport in Washington, DC. My flight has been delayed past the point it was supposed to arrive, which would normally be annoying to me but I decided to come at to from a place of gratitude because
1) I was able to have dinner with an amazing woman, Sarah Nannen from my writers group. I had always known a little about her but never had the opportunity to speak to her one on one before. She is fabulous and loved the chance to get to know her better. Due to the delay, I was able to relax and not be concerned with what time it was.
2)I took the extra time to return phone calls, caught up on emails and wrote this post
3)Being angry, frustrated or resentful wouldn’t have accompanied a thing. I know this because I have done it 100 times when flights have gotten delayed and all it did was stress me out and make an inconvenience worse.
In the same way a bag of gummy bears always made a situation works, throwing a fit over a delayed flight, wouldn’t have helped the plane come any sooner. It is a lesson in futility.
I recently was introduced to an amazing video at a workshop by Chris Winfield that has been around for a few years, but it’s new to me. Unbroken by Mateusz. I will put the link in the comments.
I’ve been listening to it every day when I get ready in the morning. The video is only 6 or so minutes but it’s got some amazing lines and I have been telling clients, friends, even my 12 year old daughter to listen to it. The one that stuck out to me today was “it’s easy to feel good when things are going your way”.
It is easy to be grateful when your foot isn’t in a cast, but are we? We might say we are grateful for “our health” but is that sincere or something we know we should feel and it has become rote at this point?
When my thoughts were all about the almond milk drama, I wasn’t in a place to acknowledge “”Wow! Life is fabulous! My body is so amazing. I am not sick, hurt or have any chronic health issues. I am so blessed”
NOPE! Almond milk shortage! That was my focus. Not the 509 things going well in my life, the 2 that weren’t so special (remember the Spanish teacher not realizing my son’s brilliance).
Some days, things do not go well, and I am not advocating pretending they are not challenging. I am remind us all how most of the time, things work out.
My flight did come and I slept in my own bed last night. I write the conclusion of this post from my home office, and my feet are not in casts. So much to be thankful for. Oh and I have plenty of almond milk.