I was living in Nashville, it was June of 2009, and while my life had taken an exciting new direction with purpose, and my depression had dissolved; I still had suffered from failed relationships spaced by chronic loneliness, and financial insecurity weighted by credit card debt and wild fears about money from the many years that I had struggled on my own.
By way of having broken free from the corporate ladder and starting my own small publicity business, I had earned my freedom and was inching towards happiness, teetering between the thrill of chasing my dreams and fatigue from trying.
It was miles, literally, from New Year’s Eve 2006, when I lived in Canada and had written my own suicide note and willed away the guardianship of my beloved cat, Sabrina. Although (and this is what many don’t understand about those who are suicidal), I never wanted to die; I only wanted the pain and struggle and sadness and loneliness to end.
Three years of monogamous dedication to self-improvement later, I was in a good place, on the journey and not on the sidelines. And yet, I still yearned sorely for a forever partner, and liberation from decades of lack and scrimping and stress over it all.
I knew about the power of gratitude—be grateful for what you have and you’ll get more of what you want—and I practiced gratitude with incremental success. I would be thankful for abundance in the present tense, the trickery of the law of attraction, attempting my best to feel as though it was happening now. “Thank you for my financial security and abundance. Thank you for my loyal soul mate,” I would say over-and-over.
I worked hard at improving my circumstances and I wanted to experience another breakthrough. I would speak my intention out loud, asking Life to “show me what I am missing.”
Then, one day it hit me.
I recall I was lying on my back, on top of my neatly made bed, and staring at the blank ceiling, when the thought came over me like an honest-to-God out of body experience…
I needed to be grateful for the very sources of my angst: I needed to thank Lack and Loneliness!
I had always resented Lack and Loneliness, those cruel circumstances. I had hated what they did to me, how they reduced me and beat down my spirit. I blamed them and held them in contempt. In that moment, I knew that they were not my enemies at all.
They were my greatest teachers.
“Thank you Lack. Thank you Loneliness. I will carry you in my heart, prayers of gratitude, and memories always. You were marvelous teachers. I release you. I release you,” the words poured out of me, and so did tears of recognition and release.
In an instant, I gained tremendous love and admiration for the teachers that I had chosen and had held in service for so many years. I beamed with appreciation for them and ran my memory with all of the ways that they had served me. I recalled the many days and nights when Lack and Loneliness were my only companions and the steady story that I told myself. I had needed them.
“Thank you Lack and Loneliness for helping me develop patience and compassion. Thank you for instilling me with the ability to empathize with the suffering of others. Thank you for the gift to know that I created you to fulfill something askew in me. Without you, I might never have come to know myself and my potential. I forgive myself for how I have loathed my life. Thank you Lack and Loneliness. I will carry you in my heart and memories forever. I release you.”
On July 4, 2009, Independence Day, just a month after my epiphany with gratitude, I met the man who would become my husband. Loneliness had been released, and Lack wasn’t far behind. Having a man in my life was not the answer; finding my true freedom was, and dropping the resentment that was keeping me stuck. The magic of contagious positive energy had started. And, I knew it.
It’s your turn to utilize the underused gratitude process that makes you more powerful, rich and happy. Do it today!
Thank your greatest teachers—they are the unlikely ones, the hardest to wrap your gratitude around. Stop resisting these teachers. Ask them, “What do you want to show me? What do you have to do with the breathtaking agreement that I made with Life when I chose this journey?”
Write their names on a note—Lack, Loneliness, Self Doubt, Emptiness—make a ceremony out of releasing them: place them in a bottle and set them to sea, or spark a match and send up their smoke like signals to heaven.
Love them. Release them. Forgive yourself.