I finally began reading fellow pharmacist Dr. Helen Sairany's book Trading Grenades for Candy and it has brought me to truly grasp what gratitude should look and feel like.
tLearning of her life and struggles as a young girl growing up in the 1990's during war has allowed me to get back in touch with true gratitude. I am able to imagine my own life, and how it compared to hers also being a teenager in the United States in the 90's.
Gratitude shouldn't be something we have to "try" to express. Part of my morning routine that I am committed to involves embodying a sense of gratitude. Creating the sensation of overwhelming joy for all of the blessings in my life. It became a routine. But there is nothing routine about real gratitude. You can not fake it. Yes, you can conjure up what it feels like in your body through thoughts of praise and glory. However, the feeling I felt when I laid my head on my soft pillow, in my warm, bed, knowing my family were all safe and sound after reading of her journey was far more real than I had felt in awhile. I felt so at peace. We tend to take so many little things for granted.
Like having food on the table. The next time that I catch myself thinking of how prices in the grocery store have gone up I will think back on her mother's trials of where to find food for her family's next meal. I will have gratitude to have a grocery store that I am just a short drive to with all of the colors of the rainbow of produce to choose from.
We are able to bring ourselves back to this feeling by empathizing with the suffering of others. Not to feel sorry for them. To feel one with them. Their suffering is ours and our gratitude is theirs. We are one.
So if you find yourself today in a lack of gratitude, look around you in search of someone who is less fortunate than you. Place yourself in their shoes for a moment. Listen to their story. Empathize with them.
A wise person once told me they believe that when we share our stories with one another we help lighten the load, and that is why we are all here. Helen's story is beautifully written and I thank her for sharing it with us all to bring back a sense of humanity that is often missing in our busy, disconnected lives.