Our newest participant: The Towers at Rutgers!!
By Lucila McElroy
A couple of years ago my husband celebrated his 40thbirthday. He is a “take control” kind of guy and planned out his own present: a week for the two of us in Mexico. I decided that for this special birthday I was going to outdo him but how could I surpass a week in Mexico?
After months of brainstorming I suddenly had an idea. What if I could celebrate his greatness for 40 days? I know. It might sound a little nutty but what do you give someone who has everything? (or maybe that was the excuse I made up for not wanting to be materialistic).
The idea was born and I knew that he would love it (what can I say, my husband loves attention). But what I didn’t know is that this idea would change my life. So“40 ways in 40 days to celebrate Kevin’s Greatness” became a reality.
During one of the weeks, he received daily cards from our girls listing one “thing we love about dad”. Another day, the girls and I surprised him and took him to a velodrome (he loves cycling) and all of us received lessons.
About half way through the 40 days people started to comment that I seemed different, calmer, happier. “What have you changed in your life?” they would ask. “Nothing” I would answer “but I agree with you, I feel happier than ever.” And one day it dawned on me: in the process of acknowledging my husband’s greatness I realized how lucky I was to have him. I was focusing on what I was grateful for, and someone other than myself. Without realizing it, I had started a gratitude practice and it felt marvelous.
So when the 40 days were over, I couldn’t stop. It felt too good. Since then, I have experimented with various ways to keep gratitude alive. I am learning to meditate and I have become a Dharma practitioner.
My life isn’t always Zen. Well, it’s not the Zen I always thought I wanted-the perfect ending Hollywood movie kind. But you know? Focusing on gratitude has allowed me to acknowledge (and even welcome) the ups and downs that I experience as a human being, as a mother, a friend, daughter and wife. I am now able to experience prolonged periods of peace of mind even amidst my very real, non-Hollywood life . My new Zen. And for this I am grateful.
What experience are you grateful for?