Searching for the Good

I am someone who generally finds myself very optimistic.  For over ten years, I write my daily gratitude.  I hand out these kindness cards (which you may have received).  But I find out that if I am in a funk, I see the negative lining in every situation.  This is normal, we are human.  Life is full of blessings and tragedies.  It’s okay to feel down or to seek out the negative when you are on that pessimistic train.  But sometimes, it takes something for you to make a shift.   You need to step back and see how the world has your back.

This is the current state of my life.  I have been planning this next move in my life for the past several months.  It’s taken many detailed specific steps to get here, but for some reason my next phase of life is not turning out as I planned.  And as I met with friends and family throughout America these past several weeks, this is the story I shared with them.  The story has been what has been going wrong in my life. 

It’s as if your hopes and attachments are temporarily tied to one particular dream, and you have a narrow focus to only see that reality.  But if that reality doesn’t turn out as planned, then what?  I can tell you from experience.  If your goal and dream doesn’t come true, due to circumstances out of your control, you go through the stages of grief.  Yes that’s right, Elizabeth Kubler Ross named these stages of grief with the following emotions:  Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.  And this is what I went through, perhaps you as well.  This may have been for a recent dream or an old one, that you had to let go of.  Grief is hard. I am not going to drag you throughout the entire journey (as this website is called it only takes a smile) but there is a shift that occurs when you get to the acceptance phase.  You begin to see how the universe is working for you.

Acceptance.  This is where I am at.  

Currently I am in New York City for the third time in almost six weeks.  I am lucky that a high school friend has offered me to stay in her flat, as she travels to Europe.  In exchange, I watch her cat.  I have never been much of a cat person, as I am allergic.  But something shifted in this trip.  In addition to being on a daily dose of Zyrtec, I began to see the kind and curious nature of cats, as I visited family and friends.  I saw them differently and they began to see me differently, and interacted with me in a whole new way.  It was comforting to cuddle with a cat at night, as I am away from my dog Bella and still grieving the loss of my bulldog Puzo.  As I cuddled with cats on this trip, my friend reminded me that cats are a symbolic of “rebirth and resurrection.”  

Recently, I met up with a friend and her friend at a NYC restaurant.  We ordered many things off the menu, cocktails, lattes, appetizers, many courses.  Because her friend’s husband is the head chef, the meal was comped.  All we needed to pay was the tip. Another blessing.  Yesterday, I began to realize on this trip, many people who I have spent time with have offered to pay for meals or drinks, because I am not currently employed.  They’ve offered me the fortune to stay at their homes, and I am so appreciative.  Regardless where I have lived, I have offered the same to others or to pay for meals or drinks.  In fact, while I was away from Paris, people have stayed in my home.  One particular friend is staying in my home the entire time to watch Bella.  Kindness is being paid back.

         Before I had the meal with my friends, I stopped by TKTS to buy last minute tickets to a Broadway show.  The associate said, “do you want orchestra seats center for $89?”  For a moment I thought, that may be too costly. Shouldn’t I buy the cheapest ones available?  But then I thought, why not treat myself for an additional $30.  He replied, “I will get the best tickets I can for you.”  I got the sixth row center for the show new musical 1776. When I looked online how much those tickets sold for, it was $255 each.  Thank you TKTS worker.

         Then yesterday morning, when I popped to Starbucks, I ordered a large coffee and used rewards for a free banana loaf bread.  The staff member got me a medium coffee, I was confused as I ordered a large. I didn’t complain, as I was going to simply take the medium coffee.  It was not a big deal.   But they said, you can keep this and I will get you the large.  Wow, thank you Starbucks worker.  I then noticed the pattern the past six weeks.  People have continued to be gracious and kind to me, and although I was appreciative of this, I didn’t live in a state of gratitude.  

         Last week, at an alternative healing conference, I had various interactions with healers and psychics.  So many people told me that the beauty in my life that was unfolding.  One intuitive woman began giving me an impromptu reading and offered to share with me the gifts that are occurring, and how my purpose may currently be redirected for a higher purpose. 

         There have been so many amazing words and kind gestures offered to me, but I was blind to them.  I was in my own embarrassment and sorrow for my future not going as planned, that I refused to see the kindness that was occurring in that moment.  I am thinking back to the day five weeks ago, when I received difficult news that things may not go my way for this next step in my life.  I was so tearful as I walked the streets of New York with my mother.  But strangers tried to comfort me in the city, whether they offered me a compliment on the dress I was wearing or make me smile by saying a joke as a driver walked by.  They attempted to make me smile and get me out of the moment of grief.  I couldn’t see that.  I saw only my own misery.  But now I do.

Even friends and family continuing to reach out to see how my status in on this new goal and collectively empathizing with my frustration, those small moments of thoughtfulness matter.  And I appreciate it.  I may not have showed it at the time, but I appreciate it now.  I think that this is something to keep in mind.  Yes, writing your daily gratitude is important, but we can habituate to it.  Just like any activity in life, it can lose it’s essence.  It’s important sometimes to step back slow down, and not just verbalize gratitude, but feel it in your body, sense it, recall it, look people in the eyes when you say thank you.  Reflect on it at a later point, and pass the positive energy on.  I actually have run out of my tangible gratitude cards on this trip, which rarely happens.  I usually have an abundance of them.  But so many people were kind, that I gave them all out.  And still there’s so much more I want to give back.  

So as I write this blog post, I want to offer this to you. Take a moment to see how things are going right in your life.  Notice the support others are offering to you.  This may be in the guise of animals, strangers, friends, family, or opportunities.    Allow yourself to grieve for the dream you may have to let go of right now.  But also realize the universe does have your back.  There may a greater dream the world has planned waiting for you, but you have to have your eyes open to see it. 

“Trust that your wounds are exactly as the Universe planned. They were divinely placed in your life in the perfect order so that you could show up for them with love and remember the light within.” ― Gabrielle Bernstein, The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith

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