Warning: This may NOT be funny. This blog is about “Gratitude”. ” and I don’t know that I can make this funny. April 22, 2015 is my two year anniversary of going to ZUMBA class. (And a little over 6 years of tango and almost 7 of yoga, all while gradually changing my diet and habits). I started writing because I was encouraged by friends who thought some posts in which I was humorously dealt with all my shortcomings, foibles and challenges were funny. But, I owe whatever progress I’ve made, and MY inspiration to so many people, so many of YOU, that I write today to express my gratitude.
“Gratitude” may not be the most powerful energy on the planet, but I think it’s in the top three. I’ve tried to work as hard the last 7 years on the inner me as the outer me and I’ve found gratitude to be one of the best therapists on the planet. It is hard NOT to be happy, joyful, peaceful, kind, or compassionate if you’re grateful. It’s a terrific, almost immediate tonic for the unavoidable sadness, depression, grief or malaise we all must experience as humans. While I’m not saying there is not value to “rest” in these emotions, when you decide it’s time to let go, there is no better single tool then gratitude.
I claim no credit for these concepts, there are hundreds, if not thousands of blogs, articles, stories and books on the subject of gratitude and starting a gratitude practice. There are many variations but all you have to do to start a gratitude practice is once a day, think of one thing you’re grateful for. Then think of one more. There are myriad suggestions for how many a day, but start with one. As you practice, you’ll set a number for yourself as you get better at it until you find yourself being grateful a good part of the day. If you’re struggling to think of one thing, do not despair. Whether or not you have good health, a roof over you’re head, family that loves you, a job, a beautiful flower outside, you’re alive. And if you can’t be grateful for that, you have choices. And there is so much to be grateful for- a blue sky, a warm breeze, random acts of kindness, a smile from a stranger, the ability to help someone else- it’s almost infinite.
So, here in no particular order is my list of things I’m grateful for, as thanks to all who have helped: my friends, my instructors, my classmates, my dancing partners, strangers with a kind word or smile, my readers (both of them)( you knew I couldn’t resist at least one quip), and all those who’ve inspired me.
I’m grateful for:
- Quitting smoking,
- Losing 30 pounds.
- Having stomach muscles, again.
- Yoga, ZUMBA and tango, in general.
- Yoga for teaching me self acceptance, patience, peace, the joy of the journey and the struggle, balance, mindfulness, upper body strength. Breathing, and the joy of slow but steady progress.
- Tango sor teaching me balance, grace, creativity musicality, and the joy of doing something that I’m not really good at. But passionate about. You don’t have to be the best to enjoy yourself.
- Zumba for joy, stamina, balance, a better heart rate, musicality, rhythm, inspiration and motivation. And ZUMBA women. 😉
- Supportive friends.
- Kind words which have motivated and inspired me
- My classmates- Zumbaranions rock!
- My chiropractor. 😉
- My doctor for 30 years. (That guy deserves a medal. From somebody. For something).
- The amazing ability of the body to change and heal even considering what I’ve done to it.
- People who say stupid, judgmental or ridiculous things for teaching me patience, tolerance, forgiveness and non attachment.
- My daughter whose own 150 pound weight loss has inspired me in so many ways.
- For learning but not always practicing, that every moment is a gift, and it’s called “the present” The actual quote, “Yesterday is History, Tomorrow a Mystery, Today is a Gift, Thats why it’s called the Present” is attributable to many people as the first author.
- Failure for teaching me persistence. Compassion for others, gratitude for successes, motivation, and self reflection.
- Giving up dairy, wheat, carbs and sugar.
- Learning to eat vicariously. (If you saw someone smiling at you while you were eating the triple fudge sundae with chips and chocolate sauce, thanks for the memory)
- The belief that everything that happens to me is my own doing and I have the ability to change
- The desire and inspiration to work even harder for my goals and dreams. 80 pounds to go.
- That I’m not out of things to be grateful for- I’m just stopping here. Ok, and redheads and convertibles. And whiskey and the Kama Sutra. Alright, I’m really stopping now.
Try a gratitude practice, the changes you will see in your life are almost immediate. You often hear, tell the people you love, that you love them every day. Now go tell the people you appreciate, every day, that you appreciate them.