30 Day Attitude of Gratitude Challenge Day 6

First….

I am trying out a new theme for my blog. I hope that you find the colors palatable for you. I also have a new web address for my blog. It is still Susan’s Personal Blog, but I decided to purchase a web domain for the blog. It can now be found at http://susanspersonalblog.com. Please update your bookmark if you are using that to find my blog. Nothing else is changing as far as content. I will still be doing 30 Day Challenges.

Susan…

The Quote…

The quote this evening is from Maya Angelou, famed poet and writer, an avid supporter of women’s rights, human rights, black rights, love, and compassion. I became familiar with her as a young woman not long after graduation from high school while attending college and nursing school. Maya Angelou is known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which I read shortly after learning of Dr. Angelou. It remains one of my favorite books today.

The quote I chose this evening is:

I found this quote while I was searching (on Google) for any gratitude quotes by Maya Angelou. As many of you know, Dr. Angelou is my favorite poet and author. One of the reasons that I admire her is because I feel a special kinship with her because she was sexually abused as a child like me. I have quotes on my other blogs from her and a Pinterest board of her quotes and poems.
I had already decided to choose a quote from Maya Angelou before I started my search today. This quote was especially familiar to me because it spoke of forgiveness and of past, present, and future. It also addresses gratitude with the last word of the quote. So let’s look more closely at the quote and break it down.

Lessons…

The quote is pretty straightforward and not complicated at all. First she addresses the past. Maya says, “If you must look back, do so forgivingly.” Well, I needed that when I began counseling for my sexual as a child. I was angry and unforgiving of my perpetrator and rightfully so after memories of the abuse began to flash back in my 30’s. As counseling continued, however, I learned that the “forgiveness” of my abuser was for me, not for him. It was so I could put the past in the past and move on with my life. It was to deal with the anger, get it out, and then put it away so that I was not an angry, unforgiving person the rest of my life.

The second sentence addresses the future with, “If you must look forward, do so prayerfully.” Notice how Dr. Angelou uses the word, “must” for emphasis as if it is best not to look forward. When I focus on the future, I get anxious because I can’t control the future. Too many things can happen that are out of my control…floods, car accidents, illness, death, financial ruin…notice how I automatically think negatively when I talk about the future. That is probably my hangup, but I learned as a child that everything was out of my control in the “future.”

The third sentence says, “However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present…Gratefully.” I don’t know about you, but this is the most important sentence for me. It reminds me to stay in the NOW, not the past or future. That is all I have control over…the now. If I dwell on my past, I become depressed and/or angry. If I dwell on the future, I become anxious with things out of my control. But…but…but if I stay in the now, I am free of depression, anger and anxiety. I am at peace.

Lastly, Maya Angelou says, “Gratefully.” This is not an after statement or an understatement at all. She reminds us to (1) remain in the present and (2) do so gratefully, with gratitude for not experiencing the past pain with depression and anger, as well as, the future anxiety of the unknown. So gratefully I show gratitude for the choice to stay in the present and the fact that I don’t stay mired in the past or freaking out about the future.

Gratitude List 

Now, for my gratitude list of 5 things I am grateful for this evening:

  1. My “present” moments when I am able to stay focused on NOW.
  2. My ability to meditate through deep breathing, music, and guided meditation. 
  3. My past because without the experiences (and that included the painful abuse) I would not be “me.”
  4. My Higher Power, whom I call God for taking care of the “future” for me.
  5. Maya Angelou for being a role model for me with her poetry, quotes, and books.

I hope you enjoyed today’s quote and my gratitude list. Good night.

Until next blog,

Susan…