Awhile ago I cut my thumb while dicing an apple. The cut wasn’t serious, but the knife happened to slice right across the inside of my thumb joint. As a result, bending my thumb became quite a chore. Simple tasks like opening a jar or washing my hair were suddenly difficult. I kept forgetting about the cut and then re-aggravating it every time I tried to use my thumb in a normal way.
What did I learn from this experience? The importance of gratitude.
For years, my thumb and I have been living together in perfect harmony. Our relationship was so comfortable that I pretty much forgot my thumb existed. I took for granted the fact that such a small, stumpy finger was involved in so many of my daily tasks.
There are many things in this life that we take for granted. I once watched a documentary about people who were waiting for heart transplants. These patients were young, old, and of all different races. They had families who loved them. They had jobs and hopes and dreams. But everything had to be put on hold as they waited to see if they could get a new heart.
Before bed that night I said a silent prayer of gratitude for my heart. It keeps me alive by beating all day, and I don’t even notice. Instead, my mind often gets caught up in all of the things that are bothering me: “I have so much to do…” “I’m so stressed…” “Why is the person in front of me driving so slow?”
We tend to get trapped in a perpetual cycle of negativity, focusing on all of the things that are going wrong, instead of paying attention to what’s going right.
Many of you know that my stepfather Paul was blind. When I was a teenager, Paul came downstairs one morning and said he’d had the most amazing dream. I asked him what the dream was about, and he said “Yellow.” At first I didn’t understand. He went on to explain that since going blind over twenty years ago, he’d started to forget what the color yellow looked like.
In that moment I realized how lucky I was to have my eyes. No matter how stressed I was or how crappy life seemed at the time, I could wake up every morning and look into the eyes of the people I love. I could see the gold and red hues of a beautiful sunset and appreciate the twinkling of pristine white snow in the moonlight.
Not everyone is so lucky.
I want you to spend some time today thinking about what you’re grateful for. The holiday season will be upon us before we know it, which can be difficult if you have family members who you don’t get along with. A Course in Miracles teaches that all relationships are assignments. In other words, every single person who comes into your life is there for a reason – whether you get along with them or not.
They serve as mirrors to reflect back to us what it is we need to learn.
Take fifteen seconds right now to close your eyes and say a silent “Thank-You” to the universe – no matter how difficult things are for you at this time.
Personally, I’m thankful for the extraordinary amount of love that exists in my life, from my friends, family and my growing online community (that means YOU!). I’m thankful that my heart beats and that my eyes see. I’m thankful for the beauty of nature that surrounds me every day. And of course, I’m thankful that my thumb has finally healed.
What are you thankful for?
Bethany Butzer, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, researcher, and yoga teacher who helps people create a life they love. Check out her book, The Antidepressant Antidote, follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and join her whole-self health revolution.
If you’d like tips on how to create a life you love, plus some personal instruction from Bethany, check out her online course, Creating A Life You Love: Find Your Passion, Live Your Purpose and Create Financial Freedom.
Image courtesy of Judy Merrill-Smith.