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As a child my parents taught me to be grateful, but I feel that I did not learn the true power of gratitude until about 15 years later, I think because that teaching was based on recognizing favors received, plus a standard of education, of proper social behavior.
When I was 15 years old, I experienced an accident in a river, I almost died in a waterfall that ended in some big rocks, fortunately my dad was able to save me just before I fell, in the best style of Hollywood superheroes, fortunately I had no injuries beyond a few scratches. Until that moment I had not thought in my mind to be thankful for life every day, at that age, I think very few people think they can be on the edge of death and it turns out that every day that passes you are dancing in that cycle of life, between living and dying.
My life changed radically since that event, a year later I was doing volunteer service in a hospital for children with deformities or pathologies in the extremities of their body and spine, to tell you that it was another great year of transformation I think it would be too little to say, to see the hard tests that other people go through, even as children makes you realize that you are too lucky to walk and use your arms without limitations, although this seems quite obvious.
In that hospital I met Daniela, a 7 year old girl who had a deformity in her little hands and had already been operated 4 times for it, one day I arrived at the Hospital and found her very happy, she was overjoyed. She was jumping up and down as if she had seen Santa Claus in person, when I asked her the reason for her joy, she answered me something that left me pondering all day, she simply said:
I think this is a very common expression (perhaps a bit rude for my vocabulary) but it can be summarized in this abbreviation: Wtf?
That's how I left the Hospital, feeling terrible because even though I had been on the verge of death, I had realized that my level of gratitude did not have the level of that little girl's, I realized that there were so many things to be grateful for every day, and I was overlooking them.
Over time I have learned that gratitude is a "state of being" that puts us in a state of grace that allows us to appreciate the best every day, to exalt the good in our lives, instead of the worst, or what we consider "bad". Sometimes we may go through situations in which we believe that nothing could be worse, that there is nothing good to exalt or be grateful for, and it turns out that even the simple fact of brushing our teeth is enough reason to be grateful and be in gratitude. Having the possibility to breathe and live, regardless of the circumstances you are going through is already an opportunity that not everyone has, so we must appreciate that we can do it every day.
When we constantly complain about our situation, about what we lack, or what we do not like, what we are doing is putting our attention on the lack, it is a basic thought of scarcity that keeps us away from prosperity and harmony, a mental program that we must eradicate from our thoughts. Instead, practicing gratitude on a daily basis places our attention on what we have, on the opportunities, it's at the same time a small act of faith that invites us to Believe and have Hope.
So, I want to leave you today with a couple of practices I do to be in gratitude:
- Every morning when I get up, I give thanks for 7 things, the first things that come to my mind, such as breathing, being healthy, seeing my children; and I do the same practice before going to sleep.
- During the day, I choose a space to be in silence for a couple of minutes and breathe, at that moment I look around me and appreciate everything I see, even my life immersed in everything I see and I simply say "Thank you".