Needless to say, driving through treacherous conditions, on an empty stomach, I was not a happy camper. To make matters worse, I was fearing that I would be late for a yoga class that I love (part of my commitment to self-care). I know, these are all 'first world problems'. Not really a big deal, right? And, certainly on one level I totally get that. On the other hand, I was just authentically grumpy in the moment and wanting to NOT be where I was at all. I wanted to 'be' somewhere else.
I also noticed that I was feeling tense and anxious about my blood work and appointment and that my fear mind was taking over 'what-iffing' about my thyroid numbers, even though this was a routine check and I had been feeling totally fine. My mind began racing with all kinds of unhelpful fear-based thoughts about my health, my day, and then even my week ahead and everything I had to 'get done'. My lovely brain, in a matter of minutes, had become a whirling, swirling snowstorm of worries and anxieties, leaving my heart racing and most likely, my blood pressure soaring.
The drive to the health center was S L O W through snow squalls, with everyone trying to get where they were going safely on a wintry Vermont morning. So, I took 3 deep breaths and asked myself...
'How can I view this situation totally differently?' I decided to try a Rampage of Appreciation which I believe is an Abraham-Hicks/ Law of Attraction term although it could be just called a Gratitude List or Gratitude Bomb or whatever you like. I also just decided to view my entire situation differently- as a wonderful adventure, rather than a burden getting in the way of the rest of my morning. I began imagining that I was on an enchanted journey through a snowy wonderland- which I totally was!
I started noticing how utterly beautiful the trees were, laden with sheets of fresh glittering snow. I started listing (and it's powerful to do this out LOUD) all the things I was grateful for: I have the privilege of Health Insurance and a friendly Health Clinic to go to. A CAR- yes a CAR (that I am off the charts privileged to be able to afford and maintain) was basically driving me- swiftly and easily, to my appointment. I was not having to walk miles through the cold, this little tin box was taking me where I needed to go. And, the 'plow guys' had probably been up since 4 am getting the roads cleared for everyone! I get to go to a yoga class later and I have the time and resources to do this. I am so lucky to be ALIVE on this gorgeous January morning. You get the idea!!
As I shifted from fear and worry into faith, gratitude and love, my anxiety completely dropped off, I noticed (with some amazement) that I was taking deep easy breaths, and I felt relaxed and content with life. My parasympathetic nervous system was back on-line. When I finally pulled into the Plainfield Health Center (only 5 min. late) I felt like a different person than just 15 minutes earlier. My appointment took all of 10 minutes and I arrived at yoga (which I was CERTAIN I would be late for) 5 min. early.
All was well. All IS well.
I have to admit, the whole 'Attitude of Gratitude' and 'Rampage of Appreciation' thing I got on one-level, but it felt a wee bit cheesy and new-agey to me. Until I finally put it into practice. It works!! And, by that I mean that a shift from worry to gratitude can literally alter the nervous system and bring us into deeper connection wth the whole and with our connection to the Universe and the Divine (whatever that is for each of us). I challenge you to try it right now! You just might end up enjoying the ride.
Finally, I think this practice might be fun to try out in any situation where we are waiting. Try it in line at the grocery store, the bank, or driving in your car (but still pay attention to the road). Try it with your kiddos!! Ask them to shout out, in a LOUD voice, all the things they are grateful for. They will have a blast with it. Imagine if we were taught, at a young age, how to shift our thinking and enter a place of great-full-ness and LOVE early on? How would our lives be different? I truly believe that the practice of gratitude (whatever you call it) can make this world a kinder, gentler, more loving place for us all.
On this chilly January morning in Vermont, I am grateful for YOU.
* I am grateful for the warm coffee I am sipping as the dawn breaks through.
* I am grateful for the ways life challenges me and asks me to grow beyond my comfort zone.
* I am grateful for a life where I am able to follow my heart and honor my SOUL.
* I am grateful for the moments that I choose to change my thinking from FEAR to FAITH.
* I am even grateful when friends hold up a mirror and help me to see my own blind spots.
What are you grateful for today? Feel free to share by clicking on Comments, below.