Over the next few weeks, I have decided I would like to share with you some of the practices I have developed over the last 10 years that have led me to this place where I freely own my disabilities but also recognize my brilliance and magnificence. For it is this brilliance and magnificence that has helped me to develop a life of bliss in which I live more fully human, fully alive while realizing I cannot eradicate my pain. The first practice I would like to share is the practice of Gratefulness. It seemed appropriate to start there having just celebrated Thanksgiving.
When I was in the years of deep darkness and pain (2004-2012), my husband and I came up with one thing we were grateful for in the day. We would share this with each other as we retired to bed each night. Eventually this practice stopped because my darkness grew too heavy. I could not think of anything I was grateful for in the day. There was just too much suffering.
It was in 2012 that I started to write a gratitude journal every night before going to sleep. I listed 5 things I was grateful for each day. Sometimes I was grateful for simply getting out of bed or even just getting personal care tasks done. I was mostly grateful for the wonderful and loving husband I had in my life. I was very grateful for my therapist, Lisa. Sometimes I found myself being grateful for the heat in the house in the winter or for the comfortable bed I got to lie in each night. I think this practice was one of the many reasons my darkness started to lift in 2012. I continue this practice to this very day.
Most recently, I have made the practice of gratefulness a piece of my entire day. I sit in gratitude for all that life offers me each morning at dawn, noontime, sunset and when I retire at night. I express my gratitude for another day of growing and evolving into a greater sense of who I am in this life and in understanding my purpose in life. Right now, I am reading reflections from Panache Desai’s book, Discovering Your Soul Signature: A 33 Day Path to Purpose, Passion and Joy as part of each gratitude session. I will repeat using this book for a couple of months.
My eventual goal is to see everything as an expression of gratefulness. I am beginning to see gratefulness for the opportunities that PTSD has given me. It has brought me into a deeper relationship with life. I am more authentic and faithful to my true essence, yet, I am also aware that my true essence is always in a process of becoming more. For this, I live in gratitude every day. I see myself growing in my ability to be grateful for what life offers me each day and to live with an attitude of gratitude for the surprises and lessons life brings my way each day.
As I grow in my gratitude, I am beginning to see that it is a key to finding and maintaining the bliss I have found in my life while managing the pain of Severe, Complex PTSD.
Desai, P. (2014). Discovering Your Soul Signature: a 33 Day Path to Purpose, Passion and Joy. Spiegel & Grau, Random House, New York, NY.