"How did I see God's hand in my life today?"
Somewhere in the distant past, out in my school days in Rourkela, I recall someone saying to me “Be grateful for small mercies.”
Back in the late 90 and the early 2000, when I was still on my educational journey that meant being grateful for the simple things that made up the better part of my life. Somethings like, getting 2 rupees everyday from mom to eat Paani puris after the tuition classes or getting my monthly money order to Rs2500 during my hostel days in college or getting new clothes for the Durga Puja ( happened once in a year , I used to wait eagerly for that time of the year when I would go to my favourite shop to buy the Puja clothes).
As I grew up, shifting gratitude to people I did not know well seemed difficult for me, expressing gratitude to people who worked with me seemed strange, not because I did not want to do that but because I associated gratitude with only family. One day while talking to my mother , I was telling her how my office day was and told her about a co-worker who helped to complete my task. And she asked, did you give your friend something in return of the help. I told her no, and she questioned me " Did you forget about being grateful for small mercies" . That day, I finally realised what gratitude means - It means being thankful for smallest of mercies...
Life isn't perfect. Gratitude simply shifts our focus on the things that should be celebrated. I am sure all of us have something in our lives that needs to be celebrated , when was the last time you celebrated something which needed to be? It doesn't have to be something grand, something as simple as expressing your Pride when your kid makes the first drawing or like me when I say my husband how proud I am of his achievements - when I see him studying all these Neural Networks, extracting features out of the images that he takes on his phone , when he writes these complex articles on artificial intelligence. Strangely years back whenever I heard the word AI , I imagined a Scientist or a Mathematician which never came close to how my better half looks like.
"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more," writes Oprah Winfrey. In a world of haves and have nots, gratitude is a go-to for those that have had enough. There are things that many of us take for granted: jobs, homes, family, friends,three meals a day. More essential still we have a heart ,lungs and brain with functional cells that are regenerating themselves and allowing us to continue with our life. Do we see these as things we should be grateful about? What do we do for them in return? Do we get up in the morning and actually take a step to lead a healthy life, do we genuinely leave a bad habit that we always wanted to ?
There was a time in my life where I was filled with anger , the anger was on myself because I felt I was not getting the love and respect in return that I deserved. It did a lot of bad things to my health, the anger transferred into my dreams, my sleep patterns were disturbed, my diet pattern was screwed up , I would get this bouts of severe headache every alternate day in a week. All this happened because I gave the power of my happiness to the outside world.
We can’t manufacture happiness, In fact, its constant pursuit makes us unhappy. A gratitude practice is a tool, and it needs to be used correctly. You can’t start forcing gratitude to arise when in the depth of grief. Practice Self Compassion, feel for yourself because if you dont do it no one else would. My husband practices this 5 why's with me very conveniently and by the time he reaches to the 3rd why these days ( previously it would go to the 5th Why), I realise that I need to do something about the problem at hand and I do have full control over my action. Self care , Self respect and being Grateful about things in your life can change the whole meaning of your existence. Even in the worst situations it WILL help you move through.
I started this article with a question on how do I see God's hand in my life, well I see it in the love of my teammates who had tears in their eyes when I said them I am leaving my current organization, I feel it when many of my team members told me they felt they lost a very important member in their family , I realised it when I read overwhelming notes and letters from people with whom I had very limited interactions , I understood it when someone within three interactions called me a "Rockstar" . These instances made me realise of my capabilities , qualifications and experience that at one point of time I started doubting about, not because I wanted to but because the external environment made me do it.
What I realised is, the external environment can influence our thought process when we allow them to , so choose whether you want or not carefully and consciously . I am not suggesting to ignore, I am suggesting use an invisible filter and pick what applies to you . People who love you will support you, people who dont, they anyhow dont matter in your life. But they make you better because you learn their patterns. No matter how frustrated you feel, but it does prepare you for your BRIGHTER and BETTER FUTURE, You will identify these snakes when you walk on the soft lawns of your dreams.
Have an attitude of gratitude , follow the below steps, it brought change in my life, It would do in yours too:
1. Count Your Blessings, you will realise that you have more than what you need
2. Say Thank You, it multiplies your happiness
3. Make Visual Reminders - Use Post-its and photographs. Remember the best and worst times. Keep reminders of both .
4. Keep a Gratitude Journal
5. Perform an act of Kindness- Help someone out.