I recently found this passage about gratitude among Dana Jennings’s reflections in the New York Times on his cancer journey:
When you have cancer, when you’re being cut open and radiated and who knows what else, it can take a great effort to be thankful for the gift of the one life that we have been blessed with. Believe me, I know.
And sometimes, in the amnesia of sickness, we forget to be grateful. But if we let our cancers consume our spirits in addition to our bodies, then we risk forgetting who we truly are, of contracting a kind of Alzheimer’s of the soul.
Gratitude is an antidote to the dark voice of illness that whispers to us, that insists that all we have become is our disease. Living in the shadow of cancer has granted me a kind of high-definition gratitude. I’ve found that when you’re grateful, the world turns from funereal gray to incandescent Technicolor.
Whatever today has brought you, consider drawing a mandala of gratitude. Start with being thankful for your hands and the ability make marks. Remember, drawing is simply mark-making! Use color freely and expressively, seeing where it leads you.
Gratitude is gratitude, whether it’s for the largest, grandest thing you can muster up or for the seemingly most insignificant thing imaginable. Create your mandala and see what words it presents to you.
Today, I have gratitude for:
- My hands
- Vibrant colors
- Nighttime stars
- Blurred lines
- Insights, great and small
- Lessons learned
- Falling in love three times a day