Painting With Gratitude


“Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture.” – Kak Sri

No one is born grateful, it is not a gift, it is a choice. We get to chose how we want to paint our day. The question is, do I want to paint it with a thankful heart or do I want to wash my day with a glaze of complaints that blur my vision on everything that happens?

The good news is every day we wake up with a blank canvas and we get to chose how we want to color our day. We truly are the boss of our own painting. Even if you start out painting what you “don’t” want, you always have the choice to paint over it with what you “do” want. I always tell my students, everything is fixable.

With next week being Thanksgiving, I would like to say how grateful I am that I will be sharing the day with all four of my children. This will be the first Thanksgiving I will be with any of them in the last six years. After the split-up of my 30 year marriage my oldest son moved to CA and my youngest daughter moved to NY. My oldest daughter came to me and said she would have Thanksgiving at her home and invite her dad because he didn’t have family to go to like I did and she wanted to make sure I was okay with that. I was grateful to have such a loving daughter and painted it as such. Each year my children I raised and loved would share Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) together with their dad. It did not come natural for me to be grateful about this. Thoughts would enter my mind like, “Why am I the one being left out?” or “How come HE gets to be with the kids on MY favorite holiday?” I noticed that when I put my focus on thoughts like these I would only cause myself to suffer. So, I would say to the thoughts, “Thanks for sharing” and I shifted my choice to painting my situation with loving, grateful thoughts of how blessed I am to have a loving sweetheart, wonderful sisters and brother, a mom and dad who are still with us all around the table enjoying a day of family. As I did this, I noticed something very interesting about gratitude.

Gratitude has an energy. When we engage in thankful thinking and words, it multiplies. In the same way, when we complain it also multiplies. Have you ever noticed when someone starts complaining about something, how easily others will join in and bring a new and improved version of the same complaint? That is an energy that also multiplies.
Here is where we all have a choice as to what we want to give our energy to. No one has the ability to choose your thoughts, only you.

A few years back my sweetheart, Rob, had a hip resurfacing and was out of the hospital the next day. Determined to be back in action, he was the poster-boy of quick recoveries. Ten days later, however, I was back in the hospital with him for what would be a year of MRSA, 3 more operations, pick-lines for months of strong medication, rehab, in home nurses, physical therapy and more. During this time Rob and I had the choice each day as to how we were going to paint our day and we made the choice to be grateful. Each night before we went to sleep we would hold each other and say what we were thankful for. Sometimes all we could find was “I sure am glad that my feet don’t stink!” Once one of us said something like that we would smile and more gratitude would flow. To this day, I only look back at that year as an amazing time of growth and love for both of us.

This my friends is the power of gratitude! What are you grateful for today? I would love to hear what you are thankful for.
Please post your thankful thoughts.

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About Colleen Sgroi

Teaching Artist from New England. View all posts by Colleen Sgroi

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