Today and everyday, I will walk in gratitude!

We have all heard it before. You must be grateful for what you have, even if it isn’t all you want. Although it sounds a bit cliche, gratitude really is an essential aspect of our daily life walk. Moving through the world with an internal reminder of all the beautiful things you do have – like breath, sanity, and the will to move forward and grow can help you jump over any obstacles that may try and block your path. This is especially crucial during this time of COVID19. Opening your eyes, taking a breath, and immediately focusing on the divine within, can give you the motivation to take the necessary action to get your day started. For me, starting my day doing an inventory of the nonmaterial gifts that I possess before I think about my student debt or the light bill that’s due, helps establish a foundation for the possibilities that the universe has in store for me despite how my real-life looks. I’m going to be honest; it ain’t always easy! Let me share a gratitude struggle with you. Last year I ended up needing emergency surgery days before a workshop I’d been planning for six months. I had created a great event with a budget of zero dollars. Terri the Great had raised enough money and sponsors to pay speakers, feed participants breakfast and lunch, and give away resource guides and swag for the 50+ local writers and visual artists who had registered for my day-long workshop. I ignored the pain that had been growing worse for weeks because I had things to do. It turned out that I had a uterine fibroid that was infected and big enough to press on my intestines and make me septic. I was so determined to conduct this workshop that I tried to convince the surgeon to put the surgery off a few days. She said the E. Coli coursing through my veins dictated that they do a hysterectomy immediately and begin IV antibiotics to deal with the severe blood infection I was experiencing. Here is where the whole gratitude thing went out of the window! I was angry. How could God allow such a thing? The workshop had been an answer to my prayers, and now it was not going to happen. I threw my gratitude routine out the window and replaced it with an attitude of despair and a narrative of defeat! Despite my spiritual training, they wheeled me into surgery sulking. I refused to consider that I was knocking on death’s door and probably wouldn’t have lived to host that workshop anyway. After the surgery, I learned the I had a total hysterectomy without complications, and there was no cancer. As long as my infection continued to clear up, I would be going home in a few days. I thanked God it was over, thanked the surgeon, and began the process of rescheduling my workshop. I still did not express what I consider the appropriate level of gratitude for the fact that MY ENTIRE LIFE had been spared!. Things didn’t go as planned, and my infection lingered. My fever would not go away. Instead of being released a few days after my surgery, I ended up staying in the hospital for almost a month. I sank deeper and deeper into depression as the days passed. Instead of sticking to my morning prayer and gratitude routine, I moaned, groaned, and cried every day, all day. My husband, mother, and spiritual godmother encouraged me, prayed for me, and assured me that everything would be fine. They expressed gratitude that the infection was discovered in time to save my life. None of that made a difference. One night was particularly hard, and I requested a sedative to help me sleep. That night I dreamed of my funeral and the life my beautiful, differently-abled daughter Aaliyah would live without me. In my dream, every bad thing I thought could happen to her without my intervention occurred. In addition, my husband was sad, my mother was distraught, and my family fell apart without me. In my dream, I was watching this scenario play out while slowly fading away. My inner self spoke to me, telling me that this could still happen. My death was still a real possibility, and perhaps instead of lamenting about a damn canceled workshop, I should thank God and begin to show gratitude for the opportunity to heal. Yes, God had to speak to me through my ego to get me to see what a blessing it was that I was still alive! At 53, I was behaving like a spoiled child, and my higher power had to take over and remind me of the possibilities. That morning I woke up with a renewed sense of gratitude. I did my gratitude prayers and spoke my intentions for my life. I promise you, within a few days, my fever broke, and I was able to go home. Today and every day I will walk in gratitude. I wake up each morning and give thanks for a new day. I thank my higher power, for me, that is Olodumare. I thank my Ori, which is my center, my soul seat, my heavenly twin. I thank my ancestors, and I thank the universe for the endless possibilities for success. I speak my intentions for the day over a glass of water, say my morning prayers, drink the water and take a deep breath and say Ase (and so it is). This ritual doesn’t guarantee a great day but sets in my mind a picture of all I have and the possibility of all that can be.
Today and Every Day…

Terri Bailey

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