Life is like a jigsaw puzzle…

except we can’t look

at the picture on the box

to see that it will all fit together.

~Auntye Sandye

Humor me whilst I do a little Forrest Gump-like thing, will you? Life is like a box of chocolates… except in our case, it’s been chopped up into 1000s of little pieces for us to fit together without a box liner photo to follow, without the surety that we actually have all the pieces, without knowing how big it will be, how long it will take to finish and whether or not the finishing of it will be easy or hard, memorable or regret-filled. And yet, somehow it ALWAYS does fit together, each piece does fit in somewhere and we celebrate the miracle of completion…

Said another way, “There is always a ton of stuff to be grateful for – though sometimes we have to look hard and long before we can discover it.” The best news is that once we discover it, more of it keeps showing up. The more you are grateful, the more you have to be grateful for…

Case in point: My life completely fell apart and it felt like I had nothing to be grateful for… At the age of 58 I was ready to retire and be a tennis playing, volunteering, lunch-with-the-ladies, stay-at-home wife. Then, within the course of only 18 months, I sold and walked away from the joy-filled business I had loved, my husband of almost 20 years decided he wanted ‘out’ of our marriage, my beloved father became ill and died, I had surgery on my knee, a 28 lb. box of books was dropped on my face and a car accident sent me into 8 months of rehab.

Then I read some books on gratitude. You can imagine how well that went over with me. It’s one thing to say “thank-you” for the good stuff in life – how was I going to be grateful for my current situation? I didn’t feel grateful for any of it! I didn’t deserve to have my wonderful life turned completely upside-down. None of it was fair!

Then came the exercise that changed my life. The instructions were simple. Find a quiet place to sit. Close your eyes. Think of 10 things to be grateful for that would not have been possible without the circumstances that you currently define as “bad”.

It was after 10pm… dark, but a magnificent star-filled summer night, so I decided to do this exercise on the patio. I sat there for what felt like hours and came up with nothing. Really, what good could come out of any of this? Then #1 hit me… like a ton of bricks; if I hadn’t sold my company and my husband had not left, I would not have been able to spend all that wonderful, quality time with my father before he died. Didn’t go over there much with my husband. Went there a lot on my own. I got to be complete with my dad.

And, if I hadn’t had the knee surgery there’d be no possibility of ever playing tennis again. I loved tennis. This was getting easier. I wouldn’t have been surrounded with so much love from my girlfriends (and I had never really liked that whole ‘I love my ladies’ scene before). I got my relationship back with my kid brother (who was persona non gratis with my ex). There was plenty of time for me to be with my mom and support her through her loss. And I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy grilled onions in my food (My ex  hated onions). I wouldn’t have joined the botanical gardens or realized how happy I felt walking through them…

By the time I got to #45 I was laughing through my tears. What a shift! The more I found to be grateful for… the more I found to be grateful for!

The pieces of my puzzle were falling into place.