Gratitude and Gifts

stick_figure_giving_bouquet_flowers_400_clr_3592As you know all weekend I was writing about Diana Nyad and the many aspects and lessons from her 53 hour swim (and more importantly all that went behind it). And you know what? I’ll continue to write about her (and it) because the number of lessons in this story is amazing – and the lessons about the Law of Attraction in this story are worthy of revisiting for sure.

How do you express gratitude?

Do you keep track of all the “gifts” you receive and have received in your life?

How do you define a “gift” – after all it’s an individual definition.

  • Although folks usually think that a gift is something meant directly for them, I look at a gift as being something that was bestowed upon me  – and sometimes even around me but it touches me even if it wasn’t meant directly for me. That’s often the way it works. We do not live in a vacuum and almost everything that happens in our surrounding environment will have some effect on us.
  • Often people think that a “gift” as being something positive, like flowers or gift card, etc.
  • Also, a gift is commonly considered to be a material object (not always but usually that’s the first thing that people think about)


Let’s take each of these individually.

  •  We can learn so much from what goes on around us. Look at the people and circumstances around you. Did someone say something near you that gave you a great idea or that made you smile even though they weren’t directing it to you? That’s a gift! Did a neighbor do something to their house that raised the property value of your house perhaps? That’s a gift to you even though your neighbor did not do it for you. Get the point?
  • It happens that our most important and valuable gifts are what we might consider “negative” at the time. But remember the “everything always works out for me” mantra. Look back at your life and see the “bad” things that happened in your life and see the good things that actually came from it. My primary example has to do with medical school and my diagnosis of epilepsy. I did not get into medical school the first two times I applied. I was so depressed because that’s all I  ever wanted since I was 4 years old. Picture this tiny little red headed, freckle faced girl standing with her hands on her hips and proudly announcing to the world at large “I am going to be a doctor”. And I never wavered from that. But then, oh my goodness, what was I going to do – I’ve been “rejected”. I did what any person who didn’t have any alternative goals would do – continue to apply year after year..LOL.  During this dry spell of rejection after rejection, I developed these strange events. To make a long story short – this was diagnosed after a year as epilepsy. About a month after the diagnosis and start of treatment I got into medical school. The gifts here are multiple. I didn’t get into medical school because my epilepsy would have interfered with my studies (and probably would not have been diagnosed much earlier even around a bunch of doctors). By the time I started school, my condition was under control and there was no further problems. It was a gift because it made me understand my patients with chronic disease much better and I could help them more. My understanding of medicine, diagnosing and what people experience with the medical encounter was enhanced (although I didn’t know it at the time) which helped me with others. It was a gift for me to get the diagnosis of epilepsy because my neurologist had said “you either have epilepsy or a brain tumor”. As you can imagine, epilepsy was a much more favorable option for me. There are many other gifts in this experience too but I won’t go into them all. The point is that most people would NOT consider being diagnosed with a chronic, life-long illness as a “gift”. But it was.
  • The last point is also exemplified by my epilepsy – it wasn’t an object, it was a diagnosis but it was a “gift”. A smile or laugh or a stimulated thought is also a gift. It does NOT have to be put in a box to be a gift.

Your work is to make a list of all the gifts you’ve received in your life. That will take some time if you do it right and take this seriously. Write down the “bad” things too and see what gifts came from them. Do this in a journal and take your time. Give gratitude for each and every gift and see if you can see what great things came from that gift. Do that this weekend, ok?

When you express your gratitude, you will empower yourself even more because gratitude is the most powerful force in the universe! Diana knew that and when she had been in the water for almost 50 hours she gathered all her boats around her and thanked her entire crew. She was exhausted and hurting and yet she knew how important gratitude is. How classy is that? Can you just express gratitude after looking at your list? Of course you can – you haven’t been swimming for 50 hours, you’ve just been making a list (and checking it twice…LOL).

Enjoy this exercise please – I promise you it will be fun! Let us know in the comments how things turned out.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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