As autumn settles in, I also change up my routine a bit. I love the cool, crisp mornings and head out for my run while it’s still dark. I’m averaging about ten kilometres now on my daily run, so by the time I reach home night has given way to day. Watching the sunrise peel away the darkness offers hope for the day ahead.
In today’s world, hope is something that I am desperate to hang onto. The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, the attacks in Edmonton and France — and the many other incidents that have cost innocent people their lives and injured scores of others — break my heart as they reveal man’s [constant] inhumanity towards man. But I refuse to let them break my spirit.
Because for all the darkness in this world, there is light. There are good people doing good things to help the people around them — not for praise or recognition — but because they are committed to making this world a better place. And what they’re doing is so important because this world needs more love, more peace, more selfless acts of kindness. Through their actions, they’re changing the world. And in the words of Nelson Mandela, “We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.”
So Give Thanks
Here in Canada, we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving on Monday, 9 October 2017. Although I give thanks every day (my daily gratitude list), this morning especially reminds me of the need to be grateful and to give thanks. And I am grateful for this life, for my family, for my friendships (past and present) and for the wonderful blessings bestowed upon me each day.
As I climb the mountains in this life and traverse the valleys, I am grateful for the courage to keep on keeping on each day. I am grateful because, through the good times and the challenging times, this is what I’ve learned (or relearned as the case may be):
Change is constant. That means that each day I have to get up and be ready for the unexpected. I do not always know, or cannot necessarily foresee, all the challenges that will be thrown at me. I can only do that which is within me. And, so, there will be times when I pray, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Do what it is that you love to do. My day job pays the bills, puts food on my table and shelter over my head. But it is my writing that makes my heart sing. So each and every day, no matter where I find myself in the world, I write. It keeps me focused. When I’m writing, be it a short story, novel or blog post, I know (as my good friend Adrienne reminded me) that I’m doing my best to “stay grounded in your conviction that you’re doing what you want to do and feel called to do.”
Love life. We live in an age where it seems like it’s not just easier, but more the norm, to criticize, deconstruct, than to try to build something up, attempt to see a silver lining. It takes a lot of energy to be negative all the time. It almost becomes a state of mind, and it is, quite frankly, unattractive. Maybe that’s why I do my best to lead a positive life. I smile and laugh a lot, which seems to be contagious. I guess I’ve learned to not take myself, and life, too seriously but to try and simply enjoy the journey. I remind myself of the blessings in my life — my partner, family and friends, my job, my writing and other artistic endeavours. I try to focus on what really matters to me, and that, in turn, allows me to see the beauty that is this world.
Be grateful. In 2013, after reading Rhonda Byrne’s The Magic, I started keeping a gratitude list. Every morning I count my blessings, listing ten things — no matter how small — for which I am grateful. Counting my blessings, I see that, even in the midst of chaos or uncertainty, life is beautiful. My gratitude list always puts a smile on my face.
On this bright, October morning, I am thankful for the god-sent blessings — in friendship, in life, in work — that keep flowing in my direction.
Grateful, I am, to be alive.
How do you show your gratitude for this life? Let me know in the comments section below.