"Praise the bridge that carried you over."
So, next week is Thanksgiving - a day when many of us sit around a table with loved ones and express aloud things we are most grateful for. Family, friends, health, wealth, survival, love, abundance... All of the things that bring us joy and fill us with gratitude.
Gratitude is such an incredibly powerful feeling. It broadens our horizons and puts things in perspective. We read books about it and fill journals with it - trusting in its power to transform the way we see ourselves and the lives we're living. Countless studies have shown that gratitude boosts our immune systems, lowers blood pressure, increases compassion, helps us feel more energized and alive... The list goes on and on.
But what if, along with all the things that bring us happiness, we could also be grateful for the things that bring, or have brought us, us unhappiness?
Having come out the other side of my own Carnival of Ridiculous Torment alive and in one piece I have learned to be abundantly grateful for the refinement and expansion that Pain has brought me. It is from the things that I thought would kill me that I have learned the most. It is precisely because I have been gutted so many times that I have the capacity and room to feel the boundless joy and love that I now feel. What I have been through has made me who I am - the events that have brought unbearable pain have shaped me and formed me and given me the ability to dance with the stars in a way I never would have been able to had my life just been an easy going trip down sunshine lane.
Not only is this possible to see and feel in hindsight, but as we are going through something difficult as well. It is an incredible thing to be able to recognize the lessons and purpose and expansion that painful events bring while we're experiencing them. It helps us endure them with far less resistance and assists us in getting to the other side far quicker than when we close our eyes, hold our breath and curl up in a ball to curse the heavens until the storm passes.
Bridges carry us from here to there. Sometimes they are a joy to cross, sometimes they are terrifying and difficult. But they always lead us from where we are to where we are going. And, for that, I will always be deeply grateful.