The start to my day was so precious. My granddaughter (she’s 3) FaceTimed me to say that she wanted to go back to the beach with me, her aunt, and her cousin. It was a sweet moment, and I was glad that the time that we spent together had an impact on her. However, it quickly turned from a sweet exchange with my grand princess to a moment of pure gratitude. I could not help but to think of my humble beginnings and how different things are for my children and grandchildren than they were for me. We live our lives day by day and if not careful, can miss moments that can grant us extreme gratitude. Gratitude is such a boost to the mindset that it should be practiced daily. It is a mood enhancer that you can access at will. It shifts perspective as you allow your mind to wonder at the beauty around you or remember the journey that you have taken.
Perspective and Focus
My journey has been extraordinary with its many peaks and valleys. I was a shy kid who was afraid of her own shadow. I was so meek and afraid to make a mistake. I was small in stature, but on the inside I was microscopic. I imagine that anyone who knew me then would be surprised to read this. I was active in a lot of school activities. I was known to be smart and received a lot of accolades from family, teachers and friends. I say this to illustrate that what is happening externally, is not nearly as impactful as what is happening internally. The external affects the internal, but it was my perspective and internal voice that determined how I showed up in the world.
We grew up on government assistance. There was always more need than there were resources to meet those needs. However, my beginning did not predict my present, nor my future. I wish that everyone who has a difficult beginning could believe that there is a better life awaiting. Despite my shyness and fearful personality, I always knew it. Somehow, by the grace of God, when I didn’t have much else, I had hope. I knew there was something bigger and better if I just kept moving. I saw education as my escape. I saw others who were gifted athletes, singers, mathematicians, future engineers, and entrepreneurs. I believe with my entire being that every person is born with their ticket out of whatever their difficulties are. You have a gift or talent that fuels your passion, turns on your creativity, and feeds the very essence of who you are.
The key is to find and nurture that gift. We often fixate on what we are not good at and get lost in comparing ourselves to others. If we could shift that energy into developing what we are good at and doing the things that light us up, things will improve. We will begin to manifest the life that before seemed so out of reach. So once again, I am back to mindset, perspective and focus. What we focus on shifts our perspective and our perspective determines our mindset. Our focus is more than what we think about, but also how we think about it. Change your focus to enhance your experiences. What we focus on, we bring about. It is extremely cold outside today for central Texas weather. I can focus on the cold, school and business closings, and not being able to get outside. or I can be grateful for a warm home, extra time with my family, and the ability to work remotely. What I choose to focus on sets the tone for my day.
I am not advocating for living in denial or always pretending that everything is good. Bad things happen and there are natural emotions that come up as a result. Honor those emotions, learn from the experience, and begin to figure out what is next. The timeline is extremely personal. There are events in our lives that will rock us to our cores: loss of a loved one, unemployment, a break-up. These are very difficult life events that can send us reeling. I am not saying that there is a quick fix or that there should be. We owe it to ourselves to feel our feelings and take care of ourselves as we process what is happening.
On our darkest days, it is important to remember that the sun still shines. You will see its light and feel its warmth again. There it is; a glimmer of hope. Hope is foundational. From hope, we can rebuild and enhance. The key is to get up and begin to move again. As with most things, it begins in our minds. Look for your sunshine. Try starting your day focusing on three things for which you are grateful. Write them down and read them throughout the day. Positive and negative thoughts will not co-exist and only one of them can improve your mood and outlook. Light will always win once you invite it in. As you practice gratitude, the light will overtake the darkness and you will begin to feel better. There is space in the sun for all of us. My prayer is that you will find yours and enjoy its warmth. May it energize and nourish you. It is readily accessible. Find it through practicing gratitude. Enjoy it when it is burning bright and on darker days, invite in the ray that will permeate and eventually overtake the darkness. In the meantime, if you are having trouble finding yours, I am happy to share mine. Enjoy!