A few days ago, I was on the beach with my daughter and we did this simple yoga pose against the stunning sunset (she is the taller one). I was filled with gratitude for the moment: for being blessed enough to have this girl who is ever so close to me and for the life that I now have. I said a little prayer of thanks.

Life had always been good to me. Then two years ago, the light went out. I couldn’t believe how savagely it hit me, but it taught me gratitude. Because two years ago, I was so ill that I could not lift my arms above my head without feeling out of breath. Now I could! I could hold this pose! I am grateful!

You see, I never expected to lose my health to the extent that I can’t do simple things like this pose.  I was eating well, and I was going to yoga and the gym several times a week. But I was being eaten up on the inside: emotionally and mentally, I was being wrecked. I was too wrecked to be grateful for what I still had. And within a short time-frame, my body lost its will to be well.

My partner said the look in my eyes frightened him, but he never gave up on me, despite my uncertain prognosis at that time. “I will carry you for the rest of your days,” he had said, kissing my fingertips. “We’ll still go on dates, hey, Jac?”

I am grateful, and I hold on to this gratitude when he drives me crazy. These little things that make me mad are nothing compared to the big things he had done for me: I look back at our history and it is filled with his good deeds for me, even when we were just acquaintances.

“Thank you,” I often say to him, thinking about the things he had done for me, including the cups of tea he brings me, and he would just shrug, ‘I must have owed you a bloody big debt in my previous life.”

This is the thing about gratitude. If you are grateful, the universe thinks, “Ah, she likes it. I’ll give her more.” The converse is also true: if you stop practicing it, you might lose something or someone of great value, who thinks, “I am not wanted, so I will leave”.

Dankbaar om een stukje u, Hennie

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