It is so easy in this 21st Century environment of incivility and hateful political discourse to let the negativity adversely affect one's sense of peace and serenity. However, I've been fortunate enough to learn the art of focusing on gratitude for my blessings. The journey has been challenging and taken years of introspection, requires my letting go of resentments regularly and relies upon my maintaining the contentment and focus on positivity that I've struggled to attain. As I've shared regularly, my years in Al Anon provided me with the tools achieve and maintain my peace and serenity.
At my first Al Anon meeting at a church in Hong Kong in 1993 the group suggested I make a gratitude list. Initially, I used the alphabet and tried to identify one thing that started with each letter for which I felt grateful. Over the years I've come to accept that I feel gratitude for each life experience - even those that were painful - because that experience contributed to my becoming the woman I am today, October 13, 2019, at age 60.
These are just some of the things and experiences that fill me with gratitude:
- Sitting on my screened - in porch, reading an actual book, sipping wine, surrounded by my husband and cats;
- Wearing 1930s fashions while showing our 1934 Terraplane at the Hershey ACCA yesterday;
- Traveling to England on the Queen Elizabeth II cruise ship as a 19 year old student;
- Learning to ride a horse English saddle while a student in England;
- Spending a summer in Paris studying at the Sorbonne and meeting my AOII sisters Carla and Olga there;
- Riding an elephant in Chang Mai;
- Enjoying a manicure and pedicure while lounging on Nusa Dua Beach in Bali;
- Visiting the incomparable Cathedral of the Cao Dai outside Tay Ninh in Vietnam;
- Celebrating marriage to my soulmate, Todd Harrington, on the veranda of the Villa Sirio in Castellebate with the town mayor presiding and surrounded by friends and family;
- The ability to practice yoga and Pilates regularly;
- Spending time with my dad on his newly built deck;
- Becoming a member of the American Club in Hong Kong, where I met wonderful people that helped keep me somewhat sane during my 3 years on the island;
- Growing tomatoes from seed that actually produced fruit;
- Backpacking through Europe at the age of 19, feeling empowered to travel on my own when my colleagues had other plans;
- Sitting on the flight deck with the pilot and first officer on 2 Qantas Airlines - including while landing at night over the Hong Kong harbor at the old Kai Tak Airport;
- Cashmere sweaters;
- Classical music;
- Pearls; 18K Gold Jewelry;
- The plays I've seen, concerts I've attended, places I've traveled, people I've met, pets that shared unconditional love, planes that took off and landed safely, museums filled with the art of the ages;
Just looking at this incomplete list of things for which I feel gratitude fills me with wonder. Try it. Make a list of things for which your are grateful. Living with an attitude of gratitude will change your life. It surely changed mine.