Thursday, May 24, 2007

Living With Gratitude

I saw the coolest DVD recently. It's called The Secret. Maybe you've heard of it; not only has the book been on the bestseller lists, but Oprah talked about it on her show. I'm always a little leery of anything that's getting a lot of hype, but someone I know recommended it highly, and when Netflix had it available, I put it in my queue.

Overall, I thought it was excellent. I didn't agree with everything that was said and a couple of the presenters seemed a little, well, smarmy to me, but it was definitely worth the time to watch it.

So why am I blogging about it today? The subject seemed to fit Thankful Thursdays perfectly. One of the things that was talked about in The Secret was how we as humans tend to focus on what we don't want to happen or on what we don't have rather than on what we'd like to see or on what we do have. I know I'm as guilty of this as anyone and there were several helpful suggestions to help change this.

My favorite idea was called a gratitude rock. One of the men said that he started to carry a rock in his pocket, and whenever he touched it, he'd think of something he was grateful for. Just touching it was a reminder to give thanks.

It's a simple idea, but what a wonderful way to remember what's positive in our lives!

If you have a moment right now, why not think of some things you're grateful for in your life? I'll even start. I'm thankful that my mom is out of the hospital after suffering congestive heart failure and is doing better every day. I'm thankful that I have a full-time job that pays my bills and keeps a roof over my head. I'm thankful that I finished my latest book and that I can take a break and spend more time with my parents. I'm thankful that my fifth book will be out in August and that I've been able to write another book of my heart.

Even as I wrote those things, it was so tempting to qualify them. I'm thankful, but-- I resisted, though.

Another suggestion from The Secret that I really liked was called the Vision Board. What you do is cut out pictures of what you want and paste it to a piece of cardboard or whatever, then you spend time every day focusing on them. I think of it as visual goal setting. I heard somewhere that goals are more likely to be achieved if they're written down and this is the same type of thing, just done with pictures rather than words.

I always used to tell people who scoffed at my big ideas that if I was going to dream, I was going to dream big. From the time was in eighth grade, my greatest desire was to write stories and have other people read them. When my first book was published in 2002, I walked around with a copy of it in my hand everywhere I went (yes, even at work!) because I couldn't believe my dream had come true. Sometimes I still look at the books I've written and it seems surreal that something I've wanted since I was fourteen has come true.

I'm a big proponent in pursuing dreams. When I sign books, I'll often write "Always pursue your dreams" instead of Best Wishes or Happy Reading because I want other people to find the joy that comes from chasing their rainbows. Mark Twain has a wonderful quote and I have it pasted on my cube wall. He said:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Dream. Discover."
What are you grateful for? What are your dreams? What are you doing to achieve them?

Patti O'Shea
In the Midnight Hour - Aug 2007


Christie Craig said...


Great post! And so true. Thanks for the reminder to focus on the good things.


gailbarrett said...

Patti- I know exactly what you mean. Life is so short, and we just can't put off our dreams, our goals, because we don't know how much time we will have here. I have a good friend with advanced breast cancer, and she told me that she is learning to appreciate and love every instant, every tiny aspect of her life now. I think that's something we can all learn from.

Nancy Morse said...

I'm grateful just to wake up breathing every morning. It's unfortunate that bad thing have to happen before people realize all the things they have to be thankful for. I also think that the guy who has to carry a rock around in his pocket to remind himself to be thankful isn't paying attention. So what happens if he leaves the rock in his other pants pocket? Does that mean he doesn't remember to be thankful for anything? You have to train yourself to be thankful and focus on what's good about life (sans the rocks), admittedly, no small feat considering all the terrible things going on in the world.

Lynette said...

I love The Secret, too, although I have only read the book. It's altering my whole mind set. I've now pasted this message up at the side of my computer:

Size 14 [U.K]

December 22nd 2007.

I want to drop two dress sizes by that date, my birthday. Usually, I tend to focus on not being able to lose weight and thinking I don't want to be overweight, instead of turning it around and thinking of what I want to achieve.

It appears to be working so far. I've lost a few pounds and I feel that I want to walk the dogs more often and for longer periods.

Think what 'The Secret' could do for our writing dreams!