A note on gratitude

Today I want to share a personal story.

The other day I had a pretty nasty fall. I was riding my bike in a good speed down a hill in my town, late for a meeting, and all of a sudden I had to hit the breaks to look out for cars on an intersecting road. I hit the breaks too hard thought, which resulted in me falling off my bike and hitting the ground with my face.

There I was, lying on the ground with my face all smothered up against the ground, screaming from pain. I saw blood starting to form a puddle around my head. In that second I didn’t know what had happened to me really. Did I break my skull? (the pain surely indicated some serious damage).

Compassion

As I was lying there, screaming and moaning from the pain, all of a sudden I heard voices: “Are you ok?” “Did you hurt yourself?” “Have you lost any teeth?” Slowly I came back to reality, and I saw three beautiful human beings. Total strangers: Two younger men in their 30:s and a woman in her 60:s.

Their main concern was that I, a total stranger, was ok. They were so nice and kind to me, and offered to take me to the hospital.

I just started crying. How beautiful is it that total strangers can help a fellow human being and make sure that I was ok? I repeatedly cried: “you’re so kind, you’re so kind, thank you so much!”

The woman was a nurse and handed me a handkerchief to wipe some of the blood that was pouring down my chin. After a short examination to check that I had all my teeth left and that I hadn’t broken anything, we could conclude that the injury wasn’t on the skull at least. But I had hurt my face severely and bitten my lip pretty badly, hence the blood.

The lesson

So why am I telling this story? Well, as I came home, I washed my face and disinfected the wound. But I couldn’t stop crying. I cried and I cried, but it wasn’t from the pain or that I felt sorry for myself. It was pure gratitude.

Some years ago, I would have felt sorry for myself. I would have blamed my “bad luck”.

But something really has shifted in me due to all the years of self help, meditation and shadow work, which I’m also infinitely grateful for. It could have easily went so much worse. I could have broken my neck and become paralyzed. I could have broken my skull. But I didn’t even get a concussion! So I can’t believe the luck that I had.

The experience taught me something valuable: now, some days later, I still look like sh*t and I have to eat liquid food with a straw due to the sore lip. But I haven’t felt more grateful in my life. We all have so much to be grateful for if we just pay attention.

Practice gratitude

This experience also reminded me about the importance of a consistent gratitude practice. I do it every day, but with this experience I was reminded to add the things we really take for granted. My face looks like I’ve gone to hell and back, but I’m so grateful to be alive, and that I have loving people around me. (Even people that don’t know me!)

I don’t think I would have interpreted this experience in this way if I hadn’t been so consistent with my gratitude practice. So if you don’t have a gratitude practice yet, be sure to add it to your daily routine.

This is a tip on how to get started: 5 ways to practice gratitude

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