Meditation: Calm, 7 Days of Gratitude: Improving Our Health Length: 13 minutes Where: Office/Guest Room, Los Angeles How It Felt: Humbling and Uplifting Who Joined Me: Steve
I am loving this meditation series. I think I’ll come back to repeat it from time to time, because it’s just absolutely beautiful. I haven’t practiced such focused gratitude since the “Abundance” series I did early this year, and things really shifted for me then in the most beautiful way. I make a habit of living gratefully every single day, but this very intentional practice feels amazing. I’m either experiencing or noticing more tiny miracles all around!
This session was about health, and touched on how harmful stress and negativity are for our health overall. Inflammation is a serious problem in our bodies, and constantly elevated cortisol levels are honestly deadly. Like any habit, searching for the negative or positive can come naturally with practice, but it does need practice.
I’m not a fan of “toxic positivity” at all- the idea that you should just “Choose joy!” and “Just be positive!” all day, every day, in every situation. That is, frankly, just denial, and when we deny our emotions we don’t process them, which means we stuff them down inside untouched- also an incredibly healthy practice.
That shit lives in our cells and does not just disappear.
However, I also don’t find any benefit to living in the negative, holding grudges, holding onto anger, or always searching for what’s going wrong. I understand some of these things are trauma responses, and we may not be responsible for their origins, but we are always responsible for our own healing as adults. Choosing to stay negative because you don’t want to do the work only harms you and the people around you.
There’s a balance, people!
I started focusing on “turning my shit into gold,” as they say, when I was very young. I listened to the stories of great people, and realized they had all been through difficult times, overcome obstacles, and generally been tested as human beings. That meant, to me, that every hard thing I had to go through did have a silver lining- it would make me stronger, smarter, wiser, more understanding- something.
There were many, many times growing up when the situations I was in felt completely insurmountable. I’m by no means trying to imply that I was always positive, that I had a great attitude all the time, knowing everything would work out in the end. But I really, truly believed it would, because I believed these hard times were giving me the skills I would need to do anything I put my mind to in life. I spent many days panicking, sobbing on the floor, thinking about dying- I’ll admit it got dark. I was treated for an ulcer at seventeen. Things did not magically become easy just because I thought I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. But I just couldn’t believe I was suffering so much for nothing.
And I was right. The strength and resolve I cultivated have helped me achieve so many of my dreams despite the odds. The wisdom and understanding I grew have allowed me to help so many people. The ability to find the blessings in a situation have helped me survive so much as an adult, and to find real happiness no matter what’s happening around me.
It all happens for a reason, but sometimes you have to make that reason a reality. If I had just given up, there would be no reason for all the pain and heartache. Sometimes the positives are easy to see, and sometimes you have to take the crap you were given and reform it into something good.
That’s up to us.
So, back to the meditation. The guide led us through a scan of our bodies, pausing to send gratitude to each part- our brains, our hearing, our sight, our hands, our legs, our hearts and lungs- bit by bit. We stopped to appreciate the parts we are hard on, something that brought tears to my eyes. I started recovery for an eating disorder almost six years ago now, and it’s really important to me to send my body as much love as possible, especially to my new squishy and shaky and curvy parts.
My body does so much for me every second of every day, and I was so cruel to it for so long. It breaks my heart. Now, it’s just love, love, love.
I heard once, from a pretty reliable source, that love is all you need, after all.