I woke up the other morning concerned about a problem that seemed fairly serious. I’d tried every which way to solve it, but nothing helped. I started to panic. My breath got short and shallow. My mind squirreled crazily around. My spirits slumped. Fortunately, before desperation set in, I remembered something a Wise Woman once taught me: No matter what happens, good or bad, say “Thank you.”
No problem was ever alleviated by resentment, anger, self-pity or fear.I remembered a movie where pioneers faced extreme challenges. I was astonished to see that they prayed each night, not to beg for help or tell God what to do, but instead to thank God for “allowing” them another day of life and ALL it brought. Their problems seemed infinitely harder than mine: disease, thirst, wind, broken wagons. They had to navigate without a map, deal with hostile Natives and hungry wildlife, and bring a baby into the world without a doctor. Their humility and gratitude impressed me. In comparison, I realized I live in “luxury” (starting with hot running water!) and my problems are actually “good” ones to have. I took a deep breath and started writing a gratitude list.
Before, when people told me to be grateful for bad things, I thought, “Well, good for you! But if you had MY problems, the last thing you’d be is GRATEFUL.” This time, I decided to try what the Wise Woman said. At first I couldn’t think of a single thing to put on my gratitude list. Then I remembered that each problem is actually a “teacher” of important spiritual lessons. If only I could decipher one lesson, I’d have a reason to be thankful.
There’s rarely a situation in life that isn’t helped by gratitude.I meditated for a moment on why this particular problem had come into my life. In the clarity of silence, I saw the problem in a new perspective. Not only was it not going to kill me, but I realized my soul had actually ASKED to be in this situation in life! I began to welcome the problem and feel thankful. Though I just mouthed the words at first, I tried telling my problem, “Thank you.” As I did, the panic and its entourage of anger, rage, fear, and self-pity began to disperse. It was powerful enough to seem like magic!
Here’s my gratitude list:
Dear Problem, Thank you for helping me…
✓ summon my courage
✓ stop isolating and ask others for help
✓ have faith that there’s always a solution to every problem
✓ trust my intuition and gut feelings
✓ restore my hope
✓ become both humbler and stronger
✓ believe that the Universe has a plan for me—even if I don’t yet know what that is
✓ get out of my own way and let light and love in
Next time you face a problem that gets you down, I encourage you to try this simple exercise. I would LOVE to hear how thanking your problem works for you. Please share in the comments section below. And… THANK YOU!