I stand waiting at the train stop. I stand with a thought.
I want to be grateful.
I stop and look up...I don't think it is that simple, we live in an extremely busy world, we have numerous roles, expectations, want more, have more. I am one of these people, yet I always thought I was rather connected, connected to the earth, but I'm guilty of being caught in the complexities of filling my life with all things unnatural.
So how do I get this sense of being back?
As I embarked into 2013 I did not make any resolutions for the New Year. However, I did have a conversation with myself in my dreamy sleep state:
“Let this year be one where I am just content, find that place where peace is my companion and learn to be in the now.”
The only place is the now.
Days have passed since that thought however this idea of being content and in the now, keep taking me to a place of gratitude "be grateful for today Sarah, feel today's greatness" The idea of gratitude is with me every day, this I know but it's my awareness that is lacking, the acknowledging of its powerful presence.
So how can I live a more enriched life? I know this isn't a new idea; gratitude is a lifelong commitment people have been making for centuries. So why does this have to be different for me?? I have let this idea rest within me and then as the world generally does I have been presented with signs of encouragement about how gratitude is actually a strong force in my life.
Firstly a piece of writing entered my blog reel, cementing this idea. Melanie Selemidis, who I believe is one of the most talented writers, but mostly she is my beautiful friend, constantly she reminds me what gratitude is by the presence she has in my life. I have known her for almost 20 years and she creates a world that has shown me unconditional love and amazing experience. She was asked to contribute to a piece of writing compiled by her friend and another talented writer Anita Heiss where on her blog she poses the question "what are the 5 things you are grateful for?" Reading Melanie's response, which can be found on both her and Anita's blog at Melanie Selemidis and Anita Heiss and after reading other peoples answer to the same question I felt totally inspired, committing me to the gratitude movement.
Secondly I had a conversation with Emma Barton, who admittedly I don’t know all that well, however feel completely grateful for her coming into my life through her amazing partner Paul McCann, who continually inspires me to think beyond the line walked upon each day (thanks Paul!!) I said to her I would like to write/create a gratitude blog/FB page where my challenge is to track a thing or things I am grateful for each day and invite people to contribute and she thought it was a great idea and as she said “they say gratitude is a key ingredient of happiness” following by not applying pressure to contribute every day and keep it more organic and contribute whenever I feel grateful - it could be several times a day or once a week. She finished by saying she thought it was a lovely idea and was sure to make her feel happy reading it.
This year it will be 18 years ago that I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). For the past 18 years I have lived with, through, beside, in denial, because of, in response to and against the disease. Before I began writing and even thinking about gratitude I would have said living with RP would be the thing I am the least grateful for having in my life, believing that my life would be better, that I would be better, without it.
Then entered the book Focus written by Ingrid Ricks a memoir about her journey from being diagnosed with RP, raising two daughters developing the relationship with her husband, navigating her way through her career and how this condition turned her life upside down but landed her in a place where living her dreams was the only thing possible. Then something occurred to me. It is because of this condition I discovered Focus and was lucky enough to connect with Ingrid, you can find more about Ingrid through her blog Ingrid Ricks and i have been able to see that living with RP is not a death sentence.
It's because of the condition I have connected with other people in the RP community each living and discovering the world through limited vision. I was fortunate through my job that I was able to meet a fantastic and inspiring guy, Mitch Barrie who works in our clients contact centre, after almost two years of conversation with him, never having once discussed my condition we discovered each other on a community Retinitis Pigmentosa page on Facebook, he too lives with condition. Through his courage and similar struggles professionally I was able to gain the confidence to approach my employers with my personal concerns about my vision.
On that note professionally the past year has been one full of peaks and troughs. However, the one thing I have learnt is to trust in others. I had to admit weakness to my manager that I believed my eyesight was impacting how I did my job, he showed me I was and am more than a person living with Retinitis Pigmentosa. Matt Mannix, is by far the greatest role model I have had in a professional sense, he has mentored me to a place where I am always eager to learn more, and because of the eye condition, I have pushed myself to learn as much as I can.
I can’t deny there are times of complete negativity and I have allowed my fears take total control, it has stopped me from doing things, going places, taking risks, it cripples me, rips my heart out and throws it around. Enter Anita Balaz, another contact through work, she works with Mitch and has shown me such warmth in the smallest of things, re-affirming about the living in the now, re-affirming about how all I have is control over the NOW in my life.
I am grateful mostly for the people I have in my life and the ones that keep me grounded. Another sign how gratitude is present in my life on the weekend just past my god mother, Bernie Dean, reminded me how lucky I am to have had experiences, I have travelled overseas and had tried many things. She reminded me because of RP I've lived my dream of waking up in Paris.
This condition is the backbone, force and inspiration, it makes me stop and look, feel and breathe in my world, it is because of RP I have to “see” in different ways, making me think of Kaylene Evers another friend who I seem to be connected with in a spiritual sense, I always know when there is something going on in her life and she needs some support, constantly she reminds me of the power of friendship and “being there” in whatever sense it is and how being true to who you are is the most important thing. I am constantly grateful for her allowing me to be there for her. And then there is Agnes Demes, my housemate, the craziest (in the kindest sense!!) woman I know, she does things, she goes places, takes risks and does not regret, sharing a living space with her has been one of an eye opener for me. Then there is my Mum, my grandmother, my aunt Nicole, my nephew Jackson and his deep eyes, and my niece Isabel, loving every aspect of the world , my friend Troy, cousin Laura, I could go on listing the people in my life......
So anyway, going back to the start, I am sitting in my apartment finally understanding gratitude and from today, I want to dedicate time, a huge amount of time to my living and dedicating to the gratitude movement and feature on my blog, entries showing the things I am grateful for. I would like to invite you also to contribute and show your own gratitude....feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org the things that make your life more enriched and I will be sure to feature them on my blog.
I want to thank you for reading this and if I haven’t mentioned you in the above it doesn’t mean you have not played a part in who I am or what I am. It means there is a entry coming dedicated just to you......