Sunday, March 8, 2020

The "If Only" Pit Versus the Healing Power of Gratitude

I've had my share of physical trials and tribulations since late January, and there have been many moments I've felt sorry for myself. Between cough, limp, cough, limp, cough--there has been a futile attempt to make sense of it all.

If only's abound. If only my husband hadn't gotten the virus. If only I'd bought a new trailer before the wreck happened...!!

There is a pit of despair, and it's called--

If Only.

The pit of If Only has the ability to magnify one's challenges.  It makes small set backs seem much larger than they are.  It makes huge setbacks seem insurmountable.

Before I became sick and lame, my husband and I took a trip to beautiful Sedona, land of the fabled vortexes.  People consider these vortexes to be places of energy.  They hike to them and erect cairns.

Or meditate.

As a horsewoman, specifically, a trail rider, I am accustomed to being in awe of natural habitats--and Sedona is certainly one of the most stunning.

Yet, my personal opinion is that the greatest energy vortex in the world is inside of us.

It's free.  You don't have to hike to it. It's a powerful drug and can heal almost any hurt.

It's called Gratitude.  

Yeah, the opposite of the pit of, If ONLY.

Now, get ready, brace yourself...but please don't think I'm trying to be this...

The world has enough of those, and doesn't need any more.

But I was raised in the Christian faith, and as such, I read the King James version of the Bible since the day my parents presented it to me and said, "Read this in the spirit of the word, not the letter of the word."  

No one ever made me memorize Bible verses, but I read it, and loved it, and memorized portions of it anyway.  And now, at 52 years old, verses rattle around in my head, and bring me comfort.

My favorite, and the ones that rattle around most are from Job.

"Thou he slay me, yet will I trust in him."  
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return.  The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
"Shall we receive good from the Lord, and not receive bad?"

(disclaimer: these are not exact quotes--they're how I still say them in my head.)

Those verses remind to thank God in all circumstances.  And for me, gratitude is the most powerful vortex I have EVER experienced.

Science backs it up.


With that in mind, I finally limped back to my gratitude place. I  have blogged about it before:

I'm not Catholic, but my Catholic friend made my husband and I rosaries, and when we were in Sedona, having forgotten ours, we purchased another at The Chapel of the Holy Cross. When we hiked, we brought it with us, and we'd find a beautiful, quiet spot, and take turns offering thanks at every bead.

Some days, it's easy to be thankful, and I just whiz through the beads.  Other days, I get stuck and have to reach for anything to be thankful for--but I dig deep and find something. I mean...a rosary does have A LOT of beads!

After I light my candle and offer up thanks, I go to the yoga mat and perform whatever poses I can--which are very few at present.

And I leave feeling better than I did before. Don't get me wrong, I still cough and limp,...

but I'm NOT doing it from inside the bottomless pit of "If Only."

This, too, shall pass. My body will heal, and I will have wonderful adventures in my happy place.

Abraham Lincoln: "It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: "And this, too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!"


  1. Sedona is just beautiful! Thank you for sharing that trip, here and on Facebook. I really enjoyed the photos.
    I pray the Rosary every day, in the traditional way, meditating on the life of Christ as each decade represents a portion of His life. It is my most peaceful part of the day, and I often pray it in my Hideout in the barn where I can see nature and my horses, and cuddle with my kitties- everything in harmony; prayer, nature and creatures.
    I hope you heal up soon, so you can get back to your equine activities! Spring is a-coming!

    1. Thanks, Shirley. Sedona was breathtaking and we hiked from morning to night everyday. We cooked at home, so we didn’t eat out, and we didn’t even shop. The virus probably came from the germ infected airport or plane. At ten days in I started to get much better. I thought I was over it, so I went ahead with a pre-planned trip to see kids, and that over did it. The virus came back swinging. I went from feeling like king of the world to a decrepit, broken down limping leper. Oh, how quickly things change!! 😂 I do love your hideout. It’s so cozy. 🤗

  2. It's refreshing to read respect for the Bible on a blog. I was in fact forced to memorize verses as a child. And I am thankful for every single one I can recall when needed. (And I still read, but not every day.)

    Today my mother and I had to cancel our flights to Jerusalem, our lifelong dream to see the Holy Land. Israel is not allowing flights from Germany (where I live) and America is discouraged from visiting as well by a mandatory quarantine on arrival. I'm not sure my mom and I will see where Jesus walked.....we've prayed and longed for it for so long. Why would a stupid virus keep us away from this passion? Thankfully I was able at least to get a refund on my flight ticket after days of effort. One little thing. And I know, God has it all in his plan, I can take comfort in that.

    1. Oh no!! I hope this doesn't keep you from going at another point in time. From what I'm reading, scientists are thinking CoronaVirus has "seasonality." Which means, it will slow its spread in warmer months. My aunt and uncle did a tour of the Holy Land in December, and they loved it. I do hope you and your mom make it!

  3. Speaking from my own perspective, I think we all get in the dumps from time to time. It's part of our human nature. However, gratitude overcomes all of it and then some! Every single day, if we give thanks to Jesus for all our blessings (which are numerous), we will always feel better by focusing on what's good, and not what's not so good. And yes, I agree with Lytha that it's so refreshing to read and hear of respect for the Bible anywhere these days. I too, pray every day, give thanks as often as I can and read my Bible often. Such a comfort in troubling times. I know that I worry far less than many people I know, and I know it's because of my faith that God has everything under His control. "When God is on your side, who can be against you?" Somewhere in Romans...hope you're feeling all better real soon. Love your new trailer! And you lucky dog for going to vacation in such a lovely place!

    1. Ha! That vacation seems like a lifetime ago! The trailer and I are having a get to know you period. I've already broken a vent handle and a window stopper. My son came and welded my old trailer and it looks like new(ish). So, believe it or not, I kind of miss it. That's a sad commentary! I just know it so well.

      I'm with you about prayer. I have to pray or I'd go nuts. My whole day is like one long conversation with God. I don't think I could sleep if I couldn't lay down my worries first. But gratitude is the key to the kingdom--and by that I mean happiness. Using the beads helps because it pushes you to keep digging. When I find a nugget to be thankful for, endorphins just flood all over me. We are wired for thankfulness.

  4. When things are going wrong it's a good idea to take a moment and think of all the things that are right with our lives. Gratitude for what we have is a good way of looking at things.

    I loved Sedona when I was there. It has to be one of the prettiest places I've been. We used to spend quite a bit of time in Arizona when my grandparents lived there and one of my daughters went to Arizona State. I love it there.

    1. Oh, lucky you! Arizona is so beautiful. That was our first time to Sedona, but wow, it's amazing. My daughter just graduated from ASU!

      Gratitude is such a simple concept, but so hard to put into practice. I think there is a part of us that knows we should, but we're kind of like a spoiled child with a toy--self pity is the toy. Right after my trailer accident, I was telling different people close to me about it, and they kept cutting me short and saying, "Well, at least you got a new trailer!" I think they were trying to cheer me up! Lol. It didn't really work. I just wanted my health back--and the simplicity of my old trailer. When it comes down to it, there is very little in life we truly need--health is one of those things. There's no substitute. But yes, I am thankful for the new trailer. It has popped up on a bead or two, but it doesn't give me endorphins like gratitude for my horses, children, grandchilden, Mt spokane, returning birds....being healthy!


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