It happened on the heels of a wonderful weekend away. I had just spent four days and three nights on a spiritual retreat praying and meditating, contemplating the gifts of life. I was aglow with gratitude.
And then, shortly after I arrived home, my beloved beagle, Copper, got into a scuffle with a skunk. The pungent skunk smell permeated virtually every corner of my home – even the garage! My feelings of gratitude and contentment dissipated.
I sat and thought about how I could course-correct my plummeting mood. I was most certainly not grateful that my dog was sprayed by a skunk, but I also knew that in the midst of an overall wonderful life, I didn’t want small inconveniences to darken my perspective. I intentionally began to redirect my thoughts with a focus on gratitude. For example, I was grateful for the internet which provided a recipe for a skunk deodorizing bath. And I was grateful that we had the ingredients for said bath. I was also grateful that I personally hadn’t been sprayed. I was especially grateful that skunk smell does dissipate, eventually.
Now, a few days later, as I sit here surrounded by a faint unpleasant odor, I’m still not at all grateful that it happened. But I am grateful for other aspects imbedded in the event. I’m aware that while both realities are true for me, I do have control over what I focus on. So, I reach for my virtual gratitude glasses and notice the wonder all around me come into focus.