Release and Wonder: The Gifts of Gratitude
I have been invited to present at a Mind Body Soul Summit in December and as part of my preparation for this, I wrote the following blog. The Summit is entitled Release With Gratitude, and so the presenters will all be exploring various perspectives on this. The organiser, Sue Allsworth of Authentic Smile, is also going to be running a whole range of other wellbeing sessions throughout the month and you can find out more about this here: Mind Body Soul Studio
To tell you more about how the practice of Gratitude has impacted on my life I need to take you back a few years to a time when I was at a very low point in my life. This left me feeling stressed, depressed, anxious, irritable and even physically ill. I had a bullying boss at work and my position felt very insecure as the funding for my post was uncertain and I was receiving my P45 in the post every month. My 16yr old stepson had moved in to live with us and, although he’s a great guy, this new arrangement brought lots of challenges and I felt that I wasn’t getting any support.
I was desperately seeking help and understanding, however I felt that no-one was really listening. Yes, they were hearing and responding, but they seemed to be missing what I was actually saying and responding more from their own agenda than to what I really wanted. The GP gave me pills and a counsellor got me to talk about my problems. Well-meaning friends offered sympathy, but I wanted someone to give me practical help that addressed all sides of the situation, not just mine. I knew that there were other people involved and that their perspectives mattered too, so sympathy which was just for me, felt rather one-sided.
I was desperately looking for something to lighten my life – which was feeling so dark, gloomy and hopeless – but instead I just seemed to be getting more weighed down. My energy (and vibration) was getting lower, rather than higher.
I started searching further afield and, as I’m a bit of a bookworm and have often found that reading offers a new perspective, I turned to books and the internet. I read Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch and took a 9mth online course called Evolutionary Enlightenment based on the book by Andrew Cohen. This opened my eyes to many things around energy and vibration – things I had felt intuitively, but had lost connection with over the years. I went on to be attuned to Reiki and to study with The Healing Trust.
Again and again I came across teachings on the value of gratitude and the role it plays in healing. I remembered that my Mum – a wonderful and wise woman – had talked about keeping a gratitude diary, and so I started to follow this advice and to look for things to be grateful for every day.
I also started working with a complementary therapist who really listened and supported me. She helped me to understand more about what was going on in my energy and vibration, and how it might be possible to turn this around.
One day she asked me what I loved and where my happy place might be. From my low mood I struggled to think of anywhere that made me happy, but something made me think of Nature. This kind of surprised me as, at that point, I rarely spent much time outdoors, but something nudged me from deep inside and the words came out of my mouth almost without my brain even engaging!
The therapist encouraged me to spend time working on the garden at home and that this was to be my project and part of my healing journey. At the back of my mind I was thinking, ‘Yeah, right!’ as my husband had said that I was not to change the garden because he and his son played ball out there.
But something inside of me had been awakened and was not going to back down easily. I found myself telling my husband that this was important to me and my wellbeing, while also pointing out that as his son was 16 by then, so there wasn’t enough space for a proper kick-about in our small garden anymore and anyway he tended to play in the green space behind where we lived.
This ‘little spark’ held a quiet but powerful force, and would not be denied now that it had felt even a small breath of life and space… Gradually over the next couple of years, with help from my husband, I transformed that square patch of lawn into a wildlife garden with herbs, flowers, climbing plants, a pond and wonderful colours, textures and scents. It filled me with joy and gratitude to spend time out there: to watch the insects, birds and frogs, and to observe the changing of the seasons. I also enjoyed harvesting and eating the herbs and fruit that I grew there. It definitely became my happy place!
Alongside my garden project I also committed to going for a walk in our local park each day. I made this a non-negotiable as, at times, when the weather was cold and damp, I was reluctant to venture out, but within a short time I was usually glad that I had.
There was one ‘special’ tree there, whose trunk sloped at just the right angle for me to lean against it and feel its support, its groundedness and also its life-force flowing gently and steadily within. I was very grateful for that tree and the time, space and wisdom it offered me.
Looking back now, I realise that Nature has always been there for me, a constant and steadfast companion, holding me, cajoling me, accepting me however I was feeling. Nature doesn’t judge, she just gently encourages us to keep going, to let go of the things that keep us stuck, weigh us down and hold us back. She surrounds us with her wonderful wild energy: sometimes still, sometimes stormy; sometimes quiet, sometimes roaring. She shares her magic and her wonder with a gentle humour. She gives her all and gently asks for us to give all of ourselves to this amazing dance of Life – to leave behind our conditioning, our ‘domestication’ and the beliefs that are no longer serving us, the animals or our planet.
I remember, as a child, sitting at my bedroom window and staring in awe at the moon – this big lump of rock, hanging out there is space and looking down on our planet far below, inanimate and yet, with this magical presence and powerful energy influencing our lives here on Earth.
I lost this sense of wonder over the years due to various challenges, and I became lost, disillusioned and cynical. This led to me experiencing both physical and emotional dis-ease.
Now, however, I have, thankfully, rediscovered my sense of wonder, awe and magic! I love to sit and look at a leaf, a tree, a rock, an insect, a bird – or any living thing – or to feel the breeze in my hair, the warmth of the sun, or a gentle rain on my face, and to contemplate how amazing is this thing called Life, and this Earth that we call home.
These moments are transformative! My whole energy shifts and my vibration rises. I feel more alive in these moments of deepest gratitude and Love, and I can testify to how healing they have been – and continue to be – for me. I no longer suffer from the migraines, IBS and poor skin, hair and nails that I experienced when I was so out of balance. I have learnt to listen and understand my body and the messages it sends me and I now have the tools to respond in a much more supportive way.
Nature brought me back to myself, taught me about gratitude and wonder and through this I learnt self-compassion, forgiveness and understanding, allowing me to release, rest and restore my wellbeing.
If you too have felt the pull of Nature, of your intuition telling you that this is the way to reconnect with your Self, rediscover your sense of wonder, and experience the healing power of release and gratitude, then I invite you to download my ‘W-I-L-D way to start feeling better – right now!’. I just know you’re going to love these 4 simple steps to help shift yourself into a more uplifted energy… and stay there.
And if you’ve liked what you’ve read, then come on over and join my gorgeous Wild Wisdom Wellbeing Tribe on Facebook. It’s a wonderful, supportive community where we explore more about how to live in alignment with our innermost heart and soul, and by doing this, support those around us to do the same for the benefit of all.