Updated: Nov 7, 2021
I’m in bed feeling depressed and hopeless. I can’t afford gutter cleaning, a laptop, or medical costs. Feeling shifts to anxious, sad and alone. I cry tears of grief.
I become aware of the warmth and comfort of my bed.
I have a roof over my head.
My body takes a deeper breath and relaxes.
Yes. In this moment I am safe and secure. I have a lot.
I acknowledge the comfort of the mattress (handed on by a friend), the bed, carpet and floor - everything right down to the earth.
Then what’s on top: the sheet (great quality op shop find), feather doona (too warm for a friend), the ceiling, roof, insulation, tiles, sky and universe. All things I usually take for granted.
I’m thankful I attended a Nonviolent Communication (NVC) workshop because I learned how to
articulate what I’m grateful for. On that night and many others, this practice brought me peace and sleep.
It works in a similar way to a grounding technique for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that I learned in counselling. When I was highly anxious, finding and naming, silently or aloud, five things I could see, hear, sense or feel would gradually shift my brain from fight/flight mode in the amygdala and bring the decision making prefrontal cortex back on line.
Naming things in gratitude also calms my nervous system.
When my sister sent me a gift of a small and very beautiful book she’d bought in Paris - I experienced gratitude and grief simultaneously.
I loved the work of an artist in California on the cover. My sister said, “It’s so you!” and it was. But I was also sad because I just could not see myself using it.
I really wanted to use it and so I asked the question, “Is there something I can use it for?” The next day I was gifted an answer and I began a new and very special gratitude journal.
When it was full, I bought another and another by the same artist. They all have a magnetic catch that symbolises to me how easily things I need come to me – like a magnet. I found that gratitude is a practice that supports manifestation.
Writing a letter of gratitude to a dear friend had me going
back through diaries to discover that we first met in 1999. Wow! Twenty-two years ago! Reflecting on all the things we’d done together and the myriad of ways she’d supported me was an inspiring ‘stock take’ that left me in awe. I made a date to read it to her. She was moved to tears and in fact we both cried with joy. The love between us was overflowing and it was a very special and memorable experience. I’ll be giving this gift to other people in my life.
And it turned out this gift of gratitude to my friend was also a gift to me.
This Blog is a part of the Blogging GEMS program, you can read more survivor Gratitude Blogs: