The Gratitude Game

Posted by Mary D'Alba on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 Under: Articles
I live in Massachusetts in a town just about 10 miles north of Boston.  I grew up here and, even though I love to visit other places, this is definitely home.
Part of the charm of living in Massachusetts is our change of seasons and unpredictable weather.  The joke is "If you don't like the weather in Massachusetts, wait a minute because it'll change." 
Today, we got about 4 to 5 inches of snow - wet, heavy, pretty snow.  I knew I needed to clean it off before it got dark and the temperature dropped.  I was putting it off all day. 
Finally, around 3:30pm, I had to go out.  I grumbled as I put on my boots and layers and trekked outside with the shovel.  
I drive a Dodge Intrepid, which my husband Joe affectionately calls "The Beast".  It's a long, big car so it holds a lot of snow. 
As I rounded the corner, I saw it buried all by itself on one side of the lot.  I was not looking forward to this.
I got the car door open and started up the car, blasting the heat and defrost.  I then proceeded to clean off "the beast".
As I was cleaning it off, I realized I had to do something to make it easier because I noticed I was grumbling and sighing.  I thought, "What if I tried something new?  How about I see how many things I can be grateful for in cleaning off this car?"
First, I started with the obvious.  I was grateful I had a car to clean off.  Then I thought, "Well, I am thankful this car with over 116,000 miles started up easily.  I have a full tank of gas so I can let it run for a while.  Oh, and the heat and defroster work, I am grateful for that.  And I found the car scraper/brush and it's a good one so thanks for that."
As I brushed of the snow, I found lots of other things to be grateful for.  There were no cars on either side of me, the snow was sliding off and not frozen, I had not backed the car all the way to the wall so I could move around the back with ease, my windshield wipers weren't stuck so I could clean off the windshield quickly and, because I'm short, when the snow slid off the roof so I didn't have to stretch to get that snow, I was pretty happy.
There was more.  I was happy to have warm lined boots, very warm gloves, scarf and hat, a huge shovel so I could shovel the snow around my car, a place that plows the parking lot so I can get out easier and a husband who, after working an 18 hour day, was willing to come home and shovel me out.
As I did this, I noticed my mood had shifted.  I wasn't grumbling anymore, I was humming.  It was almost like a moving meditation because I kept my focus on my mantra of thinking of things to be thankful for as I cleaned.  I realized time went by pretty fast and was actually pleasant.
Finally, "my beauty" (not the beast) was clean and shoveled out.  I was able to move it out of the space with no issues.   When I came back in the house, I was grateful for being outside in nature for a little while and that I had a warm house to enjoy.
So the next time you have a situation you're not happy about being in, play the gratitude game and see how many things you can find within the moment to be thankful for as your move through it.  You may surprise yourself and, at the very least, you'll move through it with a different and more positive attitude.
~Copyright 2010, Mary D'Alba (Spiritualitygirl)~

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