-by David Guerra
Last spring, I attended a day-long retreat for caregivers at Mission San Jose. It was filled with workshops and information as well as fun activities designed to give the 100 or so caregivers a break. One of the workshops really stood out to me. It was about gratitude.
I initially thought: Gratitude? I’m dealing with a really bad situation and you expect me to be grateful?
Studies, they explained, showed that when people looked for things to be grateful for, their overall well-being improved.
Skeptical, I decided to try it. I took a small daily diary that’d been sitting unused in my nightstand drawer. I opened to the first page. I thought about the events of the day and penned, “I am grateful for my singing voice, that I could share ‘My Sweet Embraceable You’ in a tender moment with Claude while caring for him.”
I thought about it. Wow, it did feel good to express how it made me feel. Maybe there’s something to this gratitude thing.
So I wrote another the next day. And the next… until it became a daily practice with one huge caveat: Positive things only, no complaints allowed. Even if the day has been horrible, I need to find one positive thing I’m glad for.
And you know what? I’ve noticed a difference in my attitude. As I go through the day, I am more aware of the bliss in little moments: The scent of a rose. The fleeting smile on Claude’s face. A bird’s song, a loving hug, a day of peace as family, good news from the doctor, the glow of sunlight through the trees, the soft downy fluff of a turkey chick in my hand, kindness from a stranger, laugher and recognizing love in its many forms.
All these things are gifts! Moments of peace and joy and wonder, tiny treats that nurture the soul. So many in a course of a day, too many to catalog! I cherish each one of them because they show me that there is, indeed, much to be grateful for.