You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow and fear from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building a nest in your hair.
I am fighting back in the ways that I can.
And, one of the ways I can fight back is with gratitude.
Gratitude, like stretching, gets easier with practice. And, gratitude, like stretching, is something that, no matter your level or ability, is always beneficial. Finally, gratitude, like stretching, can be done even when I feel heartbroken or scared.
Here is how I got back my gratitude:
*The 5-7 Gratitude Surprise Exercise*
The other evening – the Friday after we celebrated thanksgiving – I participated in the 5-7 gratitude surprise exercise.
Rules for the 5-7 gratitude surprise exercise
- In the next 24 hours, call 5-7 people who would be genuinely surprised to hear from you.
- Optional: Tell each person, “I am taking part of the 5-7 gratitude surprise exercise.”
- Tell each person “I am thankful you are in my life.”
Just call 5-7 people whom you usually don’t call.
Surprise them and share gratitude.
It’s a wonderful gift.
To them and to you.
(Adapt the rules as you wish.)
Here’s what happened with me: Ray and Frank were so genuinely delighted to hear from me that it left me giddy. I left voicemail messages for Pam, Crystal, Casey, and Joe, joyously knowing how tickled each would be to hear my rambling messages. I also spoke to Ellen (who I call from time to time) just tell her about the exercise because I thought she would get a kick out of doing it.
As Gertrude Stein wrote: Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone. We all have the opportunity to put more gratitude in the world.