An alarm goes off on my phone every day at 3:16 that plays a beautiful violin song. It’s my reminder to stop whatever I am doing and feel gratitude for the things happening in my world – no matter how small or few.
Lately I have been quick to dismiss the alarm and continue on with my day, but today (despite feeling totally overwhelmed) I stopped. I set that alarm for a reason, with an intention to have a moment – even just 10 seconds – to say thank you.
But life is having some weird twists right now – many of them very stressful and a bit scary. When the 3:16 alarm went off today, I struggled to find gratitude. How does one find gratitude in total chaos?
Then I remembered that chaos always brings change. The world crashing down brings surrender – usually to a higher power. The demon on my doorstep was forcing me to face it head on (doing so would actually give me peace of mind). And yeah; maybe rejection really is god’s protection. The closed doors were nudging me to change direction – toward something a little scary, but much more fulfilling for me. This mess was sparking action – the action my life desperately needed.
Maybe this chaos is guiding me toward something better, building something new within me, or clearing away things that are no longer serving me. Maybe this chaos is propelling me to take the action needed to heal old wounds, break patterns or overcome setbacks.
Sometimes we have to break down before we can break through.
And sometimes chaos is simply our art “getting ruined” so we end up with something far better.
That epiphany changed how I see the mess and chaos in life. I can now find gratitude and blessings in those places – no matter how small or few.
3:16 is my moment to view the world with fresh eyes each day. The numbers 3:16 represent the time of my birth. This is my reminder to renew my life force each day… to be in wonder, awe and gratitude with where I am right now, every day – just as I did the moment I took my very first breath.
Gratitude is the single most powerful change I’ve made in my life.
Intrigued? Try my Gratitude Challenge.
It was a rough summer for me. Between a 24/7 noise issue with a neighbor, feeling severely burned out with work and ongoing food sensitivity issues, I had been feeling overwhelmed and fatigued.
This week, I opened my gratitude journal. I noticed that my last entry was a full month ago. I pride myself on doing my gratitude journal almost every day, and seeing this took me aback. Had I really been that distracted?
We all hit times when it is hard to feel grateful. It’s hard for me to be grateful for anything when I’m in a standoff war with the neighbors about constant noise over my bedroom and haven’t slept in four days.
It wasn’t that I hadn’t written at all in that last month. I journaled frequently to clear my head. In fact, I had journaled more than usual this past summer. Then I realized why.
I couldn’t focus on gratitude until I acknowledged what was blocking it first.
This past summer, I had often journaled about what I was feeling. But, I was careful with this. I made sure I didn’t write things like, “I am so burned out” or “I am so mad”. I knew that any statement starting with “I am” is an affirmation to the universe – it has the power to create and confirm your reality. When you say, “I am…” you are basically creating a self-fulfilling prophecy – which can be great or awful depending on how you finish that sentence.
I was mindful to write statements that focused on the emotion I was experiencing. I wrote things like, “I am feeling so overwhelmed…” and “I feel taken for granted… “.
I wrote and wrote and wrote until I felt that I had exhausted the emotion – and then I shifted focus.
Only then could I write about what I wanted to experience moving forward, and the things I was grateful for. I even wrote about things that I will be grateful for – once they happen (I write about them as if they had already occurred). It’s one method of manifesting exactly what you want before it happens.
I love the concept of gratitude, but I recognize that we always have to honor our emotions first. Honor, acknowledge and accept what you are feeling, and give yourself permission to vent. Be raw, uncensored and honest. Allow your emotions to have a voice.
Once the emotions are fully and authentically expressed, purged and cleared, the energy will shift. And then you’ll find it a bit easier to find those golden nuggets of gratitude in your world again.
I once had a manager who just couldn’t say no. Whatever people requested of our team, she gave an enthusiastic “Sure!” without any regard to current workload or business demands. She was an order taker, not a manager.
In my most overwhelmed, burned out moments, having collapsed under unrealistic promises made on my behalf without consulting with me first, I had an epiphany along with that bottle of wine I was downing.
I didn’t want her to say “no” to these requests. I wholly agreed with 99% of them and felt that every single one was a legitimate need. What I needed was for her to negotiate the yes.
This is something I do all the time in managing my work. When a request is made of my time or skills, I inevitably say yes. But it doesn’t stop there. I may work with the requester to modify what actually gets delivered, in what timing, or how it gets delivered. 90% of the time, the requester is reasonable and works with me for that mutual win/win.
You may request an emergency apple pie for tomorrow, but if I can get you all the ingredients, a recipe on how to make it yourself and a baker to call with any questions this afternoon, you’re probably going to be agreeable to that solution if I explain that I am baking 20 custom pies for the CEO all day. (Let’s blame this weird scenario on writing this at 4 am – you get the point).
I find that when people make a request, they usually have a few delusions about it. They are delusional about how urgent it TRULY is. They are oblivious to what is actually involved in making the request happen. They have weird fantasies about how it should be magically done. They may be unaware of what is contingent on making it successful/viable. Most importantly, people tend to ask for way more than they actually need to get the result they want.
It’s my job to evaluate the request, determine the best approach/solution and make that recommendation. It’s my job to take command of the request and employ my subject matter expertise. Looking to feel more empowered in your job or life? This is exactly how to do it.
Sometimes “no” simply isn’t an option. And that’s perfectly fine. But negotiating the yes is worth embracing so we are truly in command of our own lives – our precious time, energy and attention.