How a Year of Gratitude Created the Life I’d Always Dreamt

Melody Beattie put it best when she said,

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Very rarely do we understand life moving forward in the boisterous ebbs and flows of the mundane day-to-day. It’s only when we cede way to thorough retrospection that we are capable of glancing at the grand masterpiece delicately woven together by the “rain and sunshine” intervals life wittingly reveals. In essence, existence can only be understood when looked at backwards, which is an insightfully comforting concept to contemplate.

At the beginning of this year, I challenged myself to adopt the ever-so-powerful “thanksliving” habit comprised of a set of rituals and cognizant behaviors conducive to a life of continual gratitude. Some of those habits included brief thankful prayers before my feet hit the ground each morning, or taking a moment upon beginning my daily devotional time to appreciate the beautiful sunny outdoor setting in which I delve into some edifying reading, or recognizing the simple freedom of enjoying spiritual literature of my choice with no hesitation. The list goes on and on.

What this “thanksliving” practice has taught me is that small blessings can be just as meaningful and substantial as the seemingly greater ones. It’s also taught me the compelling relevance of wanting what I already have! It’s almost strange to admit that for the past year I haven’t truly wanted or “needed” a single thing. The act of constant divine acknowledgement have made those things I do posses more than enough. I have also freely and extensively savored each of those things, places, lessons, people and relationships.

The uncanny thing about this challenge is that it’s spawned a new breed of thought. In the midst of any turbulent predicaments or abrupt adversity, gratitude hasn’t skipped a beat. It’s actually cultivated a keen acumen actively making room for growth. It’s crazy to think that even when my husband and I were somewhat long distance dealing with the impotence of not residing in the same country, we had peace rejoicing in the fact that we could be a living testimony of a vibrantly loving commitment that truly waits. I saw it as an opportunity and privilege to serve others rather than an emotionally draining circumstance. We even started a little tradition of romantic Skype dinner dates… candles and all! {image attached 😉 } In that season we’d sit with friends who found hopeful comfort at the glimpse of our relationship, believing that they too could find genuine love.

Or for example, when we had car issues and got stranded on the side of the road several months ago, we had the opportunity to get out of the car, jam to some relaxing roots reggae and sunbathe by the palm trees while the tow truck reached us during five o’ clock traffic hour. It was truly the only option to that which was out of our hands. And in that moment, I was thankful. I was able to cherish a moment of stillness and tranquility in an overly saturated rapid space.

Gratitude is a wise and splendid advisor that has taught me the authentic principles of “having it all.” It has re-wired this concept into a state of mind peacefully allowing me to enjoy all I have rather than always being in some kind of rushed and agitated race to accomplish or acquire. Rather than tightly holding a small accumulation of sand that swiftly escapes through the cracks of my hands, I choose to lightly place them over the vast tropical surface and appreciate the small parameter I have direct contact with, acknowledging that this massive body will never be mine, but is rather there to be enjoyed, freely and constantly by myself and others. Gratitude teaches us that we are part of something bigger in which each small component is equally significant and extraordinarily unique. This virtuous and prudent friend frees us from envy, strife, comparison, regret, shame, anger, and fear.

Thanksliving challenges the notion that good things happen because we “deserve” them or did something to obtain them. It rather attributes those great gifts or blessings to God and others, in turn making us happier and more fulfilled with the lives and relationships we partake in. This reciprocal acknowledgement of the abounding provision we receive from God and our loved ones strengthens our sense of self-worth reminding us that we are appreciated and cared for.

This year of grateful focus has meticulously and exclusively carved room for positive thoughts, vision for the future, wealth of relationships, happiness with what I already posses and peaceful trust in what is in store. It has placed a set of gentle “blinders” guiding toward my True North with no distraction in sight. It has also manifested a splendid plethora of miracles and blessings far beyond what my mind could conceive.

So in effort to wave 2015 goodbye and welcome the unmerited blessings of 2016, I find it fitting to recount a couple of the beautiful highlights this year had to offer:

1) I got married to my soul mate, confidant, best friend, partner in crime, cheerleader, supporter, pillar and unconditional lover. A man who has rocked my world from day one with pure intentions, an otherworldly sense of humor, unceasing patience, deep devotion to God, a wild heart and transparent love. You can read our love story here.

2) Went to Morocco… kind of one of those bucket list items for me.

3) Checked out Salvation Mountain…another one of those bucket list spots.

4) Met some people I’m incredibly inspired  by… authors, yogis, musicians, designers and more.

5) Launched our new Disfunkshion Magazine website. (woo hoo! This was like building a house from the ground up)

6) Spent some much needed quality time with family in Miami before heading back to our most permanent home in Hawaii.

7) I allowed myself to slow down and “REEL IT IN” whenever I was getting a hint of “overwhelm” creeping in. Sometimes less in more!

So with that said, I’d like to close this message by encouraging all you beautiful women reading to make a decision to practice “thanksliving” in 2016. Even as an experiment if you wish… Watch the incredible boost of joy that you’ll experience by just thinking about 4-5 things you’re thankful for each morning. Discover the breakthrough you’ll experience as your desires effortlessly come to pass when you focus most of your energies on helping others. You are not alone, and that my friends is priceless! You have a couple of hours left before the new year’s grand entrance, so allow yourself to shed any layers, emotions or thought patterns that no longer serve you.

I am perpetually thankful for the beautiful, faithful and loving creator who requires nothing of me and freely gives ALL of Himself. For that I am eternally rich!!!

Cheers to a beautiful, blessed and happy new year!

Oye Pappi, Ven Acá!

Are You Waffles or Spaghetti?

Heart to Hart on Being Beautiful