Home Gratitude A Life Of Gratitude

A Life Of Gratitude

by Vidya Sury November 22, 2012 21 comments

It is Thanksgiving Day in the United States today and I am thrilled to read all the gratitude posts.  A few years ago, some twists and turns in my life, most notably my Mom being diagnosed with interstitial lung disease (ILD), cause unknown, in 1997  forcefully made me realize how priceless life is. The doctors gave her a maximum of six months to live. Each day became precious. Each moment was valuable. At the back of our mind was the dreaded thought of  “what if …..she was no more?”

However, her positive attitude and the birth of my son literally kept death at bay for the next twelve years. So blessed were we. What a gift life now was. On February 8, 2010, when she passed away at the hospital after five days of being on full life support, unconscious and hooked to a series of equipment, I was devastated. I still find it unbelievable that she is no longer present among us. But like it or not, life has to go on.

I work from home and because of this, it was even more tough for me to come to terms with my loss. Sometimes I think I will grieve as long as I live. My Mom was my best friend. She would often say that even if I committed the most heinous crime, she would support me. And I would laugh and tell her I’d never take her up on that, because – well – I had no intentions of consciously committing any crime -heinous or not.

I have wonderful memories of my Mom – and so – I am intensely grateful to her for giving me life. Life was not easy for her. Our survival, most days, was nothing short of a miracle.

Not surprising, then, that I consider life a privilege. I begin my day with a prayer of thanks for what I have and what I am about to receive. I am grateful for:

  • My routine, which gives me a warm sense of stability and a day to look forward to
  • Every challenge I face, as it makes me stronger, more creative and more resilient
  • My family, who love me unconditionally
  • My health
  • My friends, who are there for me, no matter what and who magically sense how I am feeling and call. I am blessed to feel it too
  • The fabulous bloggers I meet, who prove that it is indeed “one world” and geographical barriers don’t matter. Thank you, Internet, for enabling me reach out. I love my friends!
  • My work, which I love and enjoy, and gives me an income to make a difference in the life of the less privileged
  • My neighbors, who always have a good word for me and smile
  • The people I know, and who enrich my life
  • Everything – that just about sums everything up, right?

Last year, around this time, I came up with the concept of a Happiness Jar – what fun it has been to continue it. On little slips of paper, each one of us at home writes down whatever makes us happy and drop it into the jar.

I would enjoy opening the jar once in a while to read a random bunch of slips – and this would take me on a nice trip down memory lane.  Now, just seeing the jar fill up makes me so grateful.

Thanksgiving, to me, translates to “giving”. Back in August this year, I went nuts at the thought of spring cleaning my house. I knew it had to be done but had severe starting trouble. I realized I was building up my overwhelm simply by assuming I had to tackle it all at once.

Then, one day, a bright idea occurred to me. I decided I’d spend ten minutes every day, walking through the house and picking two things to give away. Best idea I had, I tell you. The joy of giving is something else. I initially meant to do this for a month to see how it goes. But now, I enjoy the habit. If I am stumped for something to give on a particular day, I simply cook and distribute food packets to my street dwellers. Other easy ways I’ve discovered, for giving and celebrating every day, are:

  • Phone a family member and say I love you. Of late, we’ve lost so many dear ones that just about any moment is a good time to tell your relatives you care, regardless of your relationship.
  • Buy someone a meal. Too many people don’t get enough to eat.
  • Sponsor a meal at my local welfare home for girls.
  • Give away a set (or more) of clothes  each time I buy something. Okay to give even when I don’t buy something
  • Cook a little extra  and go distribute it to the street dwellers
  • Food too cumbersome? Make some lemon juice and distribute
  • Give away an old cardigan. It is winter after all
  • Give away a couple of bed sheets
  • Run an errand for someone
  • Email two friends, recalling a past happy incident and relive the joy
  • Compliment someone
  • Smile at someone
  • Hug someone
  • Share jokes, share laughter
  • Give a bunch of flowers to someone. Unless they have a respiratory problem – in which case, think of something else they like
  • My best friend rarely remembers my actual birthday. Sometimes she is off by a few months – and I love her for baking a massive cake and arriving at my door, tray in hand, ready to celebrate. I learned this from her: Buy or make a gift for 5 friends, for no reason at all!

See how that list could go on and on? 🙂

And oh, if you’re thankful don’t just think it – say it!
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present 
and not giving it” Arthur Ward

I posted a photo on Facebook and asked the question “What are two things you are thankful for, at this moment?” And was overwhelmed at the responses. Take a look at the post here on Facebook and – please do add your own answer! I tried copying that conversation here, but it did not reproduce well. then I made an image file – but that doesn’t show up clearly.

 Here’s a beautiful poem I want to share with you:
Be Thankful
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.~ Author Unknown
“There are no strangers. Only friends we haven’t met. Yet. ” 
My heartfelt wishes to all those celebrating Thanksgiving Day today!

I appreciate each and every one of you. Very much.

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Elle November 22, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Vidya I absolutely love the happiness jar. What a cool idea. Thanks for this wonderful post filled with many blessings.

Love Elle

Harleena Singh November 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm

That was beautiful Vidya!I wonder why we wait for occasions and days to express our gratitude and don’t it more often (most of us might be but some don’t). I just loved your list and you sure have a way with words.I can well relate to the loss of your Mom having lost mine, though I can never thank her or my Dad for all that they’ve done for me too…words always fall short when I have to express my gratitude. Ah…there are so much we get when we give, just as you mentioned in the every day things – that IS the real joy of giving for me too, and there is really no limit to the amount you can do – isn’t it?Thanks for sharing, and even though we don’t celebrate but the spirit of Thanksgiving shall always remain. 🙂

Betsy / Zen Mama November 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm

What a beautiful post! Thanks for the great reminders of all the ways to celebrate Thanksgiving every day not just on the third Thursday of November. Gratitude needs to be a way of life! Love your links (thank you!!) and your beautiful poem, too.

Sending you a Happy Thanksgiving from the Henry family from the other side of the world!!

Angela Artemis|PoweredbyIntuition November 22, 2012 at 3:17 pm

This was a beautiful post! I know you know that your Mom is with you every day!

Me November 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Love the Happiness Jar! What a fantastic idea!! Happy thanksgiving to you 🙂

Pattu Raj November 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Vidya, what a beautiful post for thanksgiving, though we do not have this festival here.

Cathy/Treatment Talk November 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Hi Vidya,

Lovely post and tribute to your mother. Here in the states, we enjoy our holiday and it is a great reminder to be grateful everyday!

Joy November 22, 2012 at 7:17 pm

So beautiful Vidya…your Mom’s spirit lives on in you…and I remember the happiness jar and how *fun* when some people fill jars with pennies, you are filling yours with treasures…

My heart is full of gratitude because this moment is a beautiful gift, full of abundance of Spirit…as each moment is when we (I) allow it to be.

Joy November 22, 2012 at 7:20 pm

So beautiful, Vidya…your Mom’s spirit lives through you and it is wonderful when you share stories of her..I also remember the Happiness Jar from last year, and how *fun* because some people fill their jars with pennies, yet you will yours with treasures!

My heart is overflowing with gratitude because this moment is a gift, full of Spirit and the feel of abundance…as each moment may be when we (I) allow it to be…

Dr Linda Hamilton November 23, 2012 at 12:42 am

I too love the Happiness Jar – what a great idea Vidya! Thank you for sharing… and Happy Thanksgiving 🙂


Dr Linda Hamilton

** spread thanks – it’s free **

Barbara November 22, 2012 at 10:20 pm

What a lovely post, Vidya, your priceless memories of your Mom and the lovely picture of Vidur with the happiness jar, your beautiful and positive attitude towards life. Thank you for sharing your gratitude, it will come back threefold! Bear hugs, Barbara

raodivya November 23, 2012 at 4:30 am

I liked how you write about simple things, but they are effective enough to hook you on to reading more and more ! Awesome website you have here !!

Loved your Happniess Jar tradition 🙂

Terri Sonoda November 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm

What a beautiful and poignant post, my dear friend! Your outlook on life continuously improves MY outlook on life….because you are so very inspiring. And, I loved the poem. My favorite part was:
“Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.” Why? Because at this time in my life, I’m experiencing several limitations and a few obstacles. I’m fighting through each one every day, and hoping for improvement. So yes, I’m thankful for my limitation.
I’m also thankful for you, Vidya. You are lovely. XOXOs

Leo November 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Lots of things to be thankful and grateful for, we don’t realize it only or we forget thim in the hustle bustle of life. Good that we remember it atleast one day 🙂

I admire that concept of a happiness jar, which can give us a smile when we feel low 🙂 tell us what is there to be happy about. Love that idea, Vidya. May your spirit of life spread through to others as well 🙂

Paige | Simple Mindfulness November 23, 2012 at 8:41 pm

I’m so grateful to have you in my life, dear Vidya. You are such a blessing! I’m sending you a great big hug and kiss!Lots of Love!!

Jodi @ Heal Now November 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm

I love your description of your mother and your relationship, how lucky and beautiful for you to have had that. Such a bountiful blessing!

My Inner Chick November 23, 2012 at 11:55 pm

B E A U T I F U L.

I love your stories about you dear mother.

you are indeed your mother’s daughter….

Happy Birthday to Vidur.

I am thankful for YOU, Vidya. <3 Xxx

Found In Folsom November 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Belated Happy Birthday to Vidur. I love that name. He is so cute. And I also liked the concept of the happiness jar. I think I should start it 🙂 Enjoyed reading the post.

Pamela Fagan Hutchins November 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm

so sorry to have missed this on thanksgiving — we were in jamaica with my parents, brother & his family, & our kids. tlak about a lot to be thankful for! i am also thankful for friends all over the world, and one in bangalore india!

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