Last week, I was lying down on the couch talking with my sister on the phone, and about 5 minutes into our chat, I noticed that my sweater felt damp. I reached behind me and felt my back, and then the couch, and realized with some minor horror that both were wet. Obviously, one of the cats had thrown up, mostly water, but it had soaked a large part of the cover, a cushion, and the couch underneath.
My first reaction, when things like this happen, is to go to worst case scenarios: something is seriously wrong with one of the cats, the cover will be ruined, the couch will always smell. These kind of thoughts; ones that escalate a situation, are always accompanied by a feeling of panic. In the moment, they create a chaotic atmosphere and make every little thing into a crisis. If left unchecked, they start drawing other negative thoughts and circumstances into my life. I wish that I could go instantly to a calm, accepting feeling inside when something like this happens, but generally that is not the case. Usually I notice how bad I suddenly feel, and this is my signal to change my thoughts.
A tool that I learned to use, years ago, and one that I must say, always works, is to simply say (and keep repeating), “Thank you”, when I feel overwhelmed. As I did this the other day, while at the same time removing the cover and taking the cushions apart, I could feel an inner “OKness” come over me. I caught the negative before it made a miserable atmosphere in my home. I ended up feeling wonderful and now have a clean and good smelling couch cover. Jack walked in later that day and said, “That couch looks brighter. What did you do to it?”
Just saying thank you, even when you don’t feel grateful in the moment, seems to unlock a spiritual door inside. It turns things around, sometimes so quickly, that the thing that seemed awful, can suddenly reveal a hidden gift.
The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings! Henry Ward Beecher