9/14/09

Attitude of Gratitude

When I first began to study energy healing in 2002, my Reiki teacher told me it was important to keep the 'attitude of gratitude' in my daily life. I was learning Reiki to treat chronic pain. Since chronic pain causes depression, I did not feel I had a lot to be grateful for at the time. Furthermore, within the month, I tore a ligament in my knee while skiing. With this new additional source of pain, I felt even less grateful. I also started having increased stress at work due to my limited mobility and frequent absences for doctor's visits and physical therapy. It seemed like trouble upon trouble, which made the attitude of gratitude seem unattainable.

However, even in the midst of this, I had a lot to be grateful for. The first doctor we visited suggested we inject my knee with pain medication and forcibly straighten the leg. My husband, a competitive skier familiar with knee injuries, knew this did not sound right. He refused treatment, and we left the hospital. It is extremely unusual to refuse a doctor's treatment in Japan, but he did, and I benefited.

As soon as we got home, my husband searched the Internet for a doctor specializing in knee injuries in our area. The second doctor said the ligament would have torn further if we had followed the first doctor's advice. If that had happened, I would have needed surgery to fix it. As it was, the only treatment I needed was medication for the pain and swelling. I am extremely grateful to my husband for his intervention. I'm also grateful that I could use the Reiki I had just learned to reduce pain and promote healing in the knee.

When I started physical therapy, which lasted six months, many friends and colleagues told me I would have permanent pain and limited mobility in my knee. It's amazing how many people want to tell you their own horror stories when something bad happens to you. They may think it is helpful, but it's not. I see this happen again and again to my clients, who come in traumatized by the advice of seemingly well-meaning people. It's important to ignore this information and focus on healing, which I did. Within two years, I had overcome the constant dull ache in my knee. Within three years, I was skiing better than I ever had before. I'm grateful that I completely recovered from the injury.

The chronic pain that led me to learn Reiki spurred me along a healing path that eventually led to hypnotherapy. Once I learned hypnotherapy, I was able to reduce pain and inflammation anywhere in my body at any time for extended periods of time. I was free from carrying around pain-relieving ointments and pills. I didn't need days of rest to recover from bouts of intense pain. Hypnotherapy was so much faster and longer-lasting than pain medication that I suddenly had a lot more hours of activity than I was used to. I am grateful that Reiki led me to hypnotherapy, and I'm grateful that hypnotherapy improved the quality of my life so significantly.

I cannot say I am glad I tore the ligament in my knee, but I am grateful that what started off as a negative experience did not get worse. Even better, it turned into a positive one. I am grateful that I learned so much from the experience, including how to ski better! Seven years later, I now find it easy to keep the attitude of gratitude in my life, and I am much happier as a result.

If you have trouble keeping the attitude of gratitude in your life, I recommend keeping a journal with a nightly gratitude list. Make a list of everything that is going well in your life. These can be small things like 'I caught the train on time' or 'The sushi at lunch was really fresh' to bigger things like 'I got a raise at work' or 'My baby is healthy.'

You can also write down any and all benefits that have come out of a negative situation. Write as many things as you can on your list. Repeat them from day to day as you add new things, so that your list grows even longer. The more attention you pay to what's good in your life, the more gratitude you will feel in all areas of your life. Instead of focusing on pain, you'll be focusing on joy. That is the attitude of gratitude.



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