I have been looking forward to writing about the word of the day for hours. Literally. I didn’t sleep well last night and have basically been up since 2am. My AC isn’t working and it was over 80 degrees (Fahrenheit) in my house (I apologize for those still dealing with snow….I’m really not complaining). It was hot. I was hungry. My daughter couldn’t sleep. My brain wouldn’t shut off.
I tried to fall back to sleep for hours and finally gave up at 4. Some edits I wanted to make to my book struck me all of a sudden and I figured there was no time like the present…I wasn’t doing anything anyway. So I logged into my laptop, conveniently on the floor next to my bed since I was writing until I fell asleep last night. And that’s when I started thinking about the word of the day.
Over the weekend I had felt a recurring theme and after my sleepless night I truly thought today was the day I should share it. I started thinking about details I should include, examples from my weekend. I had all but written it, since I didn’t yet know the word.
And then I read the post. The word is Radiant. Now, normally this would have been the perfect word for me. There are so many amazing ways to use it. It’s far more adaptable than some of the other words. If I can write a post inspired by the word Faceless then Radiant should be a piece of cake!
I’m in Florida. I love the sunshine. The sunshine is Radiant!
I have booked myself a writing retreat this week; three days to live out my dream life. I feel Radiant!
I am brimming with positive energy. I am Radiant!
And yet none of these were what I wanted to write about. In fact, the theme that replayed itself all weekend long was Gratitude. So I thought long and hard (I mean 10 solid minutes) to try to come up with a clever way to tie Gratitude with the word Radiant. And I think I’m just too tired today.
But I still want to tell you how ridiculously grateful I have been feeling.
You see, gratitude has not always come easy for me. It has probably only been the last year or so that I’ve fully appreciated the power of gratitude. For a while I really needed to search for reasons to feel grateful. I mean, there were the obvious reasons:
- My kids
- My family
- My friends
I’d feel grateful whenever I’d strike a bit of “good luck” (the problem with “luck” is that it’s sneaky and fickle, it can turn from good to bad in the blink of an eye).
But I knew it was not enough to feel grateful for just these things for which gratitude comes easily. I wanted to learn to feel grateful at the worst of times. I wanted to be able to conjure gratitude whenever I needed it. I wanted to be able to fabricate it out of thin air, call it to me with my magic wand and summon it with the snap of my fingers or the twitch of my nose.
Because I know a secret about gratitude. I know something that not many people have really thought about. I have discovered one of the true keys to happiness.
It is impossible to feel both grateful and unhappy at the same time.
And so I practiced gratitude. Let me tell you, this wasn’t always easy. It’s challenging to feel grateful when your ex is berating you, your kids are bickering and the project at work is dragging on FOREVER. It’s difficult to bring gratitude to mind when you’re feeling overwhelmed, scared and confused. To reach out and pull gratitude from situations that most would call “bad luck,” is a skill I desperately wanted and so I persisted.
And it struck me this weekend how ridiculously grateful I am. “Wow, how lucky was that?” crossed my mind at times it shouldn’t have. “I’m actually grateful it turned out this way” fluttered through my mind more often than I can count.
It all began Friday night around midnight when I was just pulling into my driveway after seeing a concert I’ve been too busy to post about. I got a text from someone who was supposed to be relieving me of taking care of a friend’s dogs while she was away. She had just gotten to the house and couldn’t find the key. She needed me to go let her in so she could take care of the dogs. And I thought, “wow, good thing I was just getting home! If I’d been asleep I wouldn’t have heard her call!”
Saturday afternoon I got another text from her, asking me to go down to the house to take care of something she’d neglected to do. I had been in the middle of writing (shocking, I know) and so I was surprised when I stepped outside how nice it was. And I thought, “wow, it’s kind of nice to have an excuse to stop working for a while and take a walk!” So I walked down to my friend’s house and sat in the back yard for a while with the dogs catching up on my WordPress reading and thought, “wow, if I’d stayed at home I probably wouldn’t have been able to read all the posts today. I’m glad I took a break!”
And then last night, when I was completely unable to sleep, instead of feeling frustrated I felt inspired. I’d been struggling about where to put something in my book…there are at least 2 or 3 places it would fit but it’s such an interesting piece I wanted it to be somewhere special. It was really important to me. Then all of a sudden I knew exactly where it belonged. Not only that, but there was a second piece that needed the perfect place of honor and that bit of inspiration was provided too. I didn’t sleep, but I felt grateful. I thought, “wow, if I’d been sleeping then I might not have thought to put either of these where they truly belong.”
That’s when I knew my post today had to be about gratitude. Feeling grateful allows me to be absolutely happy instead of feeling angry or frustrated.
Gratitude makes me radiant. What will make you shine?
This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Radiant