During the last four and a half years I have written and published every post here on SMART Living 365. But as Thom and I prepared for a three week trip over the holidays, I decided to invite three other bloggers I enjoy and admire to contribute and share their SMART advice. Today’s Guest Post comes from author and writer Corinne Rodrigues. Corinne and her writings come to us from halfway around the world in Secunderabad, South India. While our backgrounds are obviously quite different, Corinne and I both often write about many of the qualities that I think make up a SMART Life. Things like a grateful heart, giving, hope, love and thanksgiving are so universal it doesn’t matter where you live. I hope you enjoy this post, and I strongly encourage you to check out Corinne’s blog Everyday Gyaan if you get a chance. Thank you, Corinne, for sharing your loving, grateful and kind writings with all of us.
As I’m cooking spinach this afternoon, I inhale the lovely scent of cumin and coriander and I give thanks for the gift of spices. Earlier this morning, it was thanks for the freshness of the aloe vera soap I used in my shower.
I start to think about how offering thanks has become such a part of my everyday routine. I think of my journey into gratitude and decide that I’ll share it with you today.
At 41, after a series of failed romances and consequent heartbreak and disappointment, I met José and before too long we were married. Life should have been wonderful. But as we settled into married life, we met with one mishap after another.
In the space of three years, we faced a minor home invasion, a huge home renovation project that went off the rails for a while, two severe bouts of malaria apiece, two cataract surgeries for me and an accident resulting in a hip replacement surgery for José. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention care-giving my mother after a stroke and my brother after his heart surgery!
Employing my ‘why-me’ attitude of the past, seemed the perfect response to these experiences. I can’t quite put a finger on what made me change my way of looking at things, but I know now the only way we made it through was by having an attitude of gratitude.
When José met with an accident, instead of panicking that being fairly new to the city, I had no one to help me take him to the hospital, look after our dog and spell me out while he was hospitalized, I stopped and gave thanks. I said to myself, “I don’t know what I’ll learn through this, but I’m grateful for the experience.” This act of faith seemed to work, for we had a series of angels helping us through the experience.
For me now, gratitude is being awake. Awake to the beauty of life and living. Awake to the many possibilities that life has to offer. Awake to Nature and its beauty. Awake to kindness and the generosity of people. Awake even to evil and aware of how it works. Awake to sorrow and darkness within me and in the world.
As David Whyte says, “Gratitude is not a passive response to something given to us, gratitude is being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us.”
No matter what you call it – a habit, an attitude, a way of living, gratitude definitely works for me. I’ve realized that to be grateful is to find blessings in everything. And the more gratitude becomes a part of you, the more blessings you will find.
What then does gratitude mean to you?
Corinne Rodrigues is a lover of words, a frequent book reviewer, and a self-acceptance blogger. Happily journeying through midlife, moving from self-improvement to self-acceptance, and enjoying being herself, you can find more of her writing on her blog Everyday Gaan.
Please make Corinne welcome in the comments below.