Swapna Raghu Sanand/3rd January, 2018
Gratitude is something I grew up with - thanks to my parents who taught me to be grateful for everything around me and to express it, like a sacred prayer, in every little action. My parents chose to lead a simple life with enough facilities to give us a good education and a good life. Even as Internet and cable TV took the world by storm in the 90s, there was neither of these in my home till much later. We didn't need it - our choices were always that simple. The life my parents led embraced a simplicity that kept me rooted to human values, rather than material values. Our little delights were as simple as going out to attend the annual temple festival or eating out at a local eatery or going out for a movie in the local run-down theater where tickets cost less than Rs 50/- with our parents. Looking back, I am grateful to my parents for teaching me that there is no substitute for love and laughter and faith in God.
On top of my list of gratitude, I must confess that I am grateful to all authors of many books that transformed my life in little ways. Louisa Hay's books have had a profound impact on my health and perspective, particularly her books ''Heal your Life'' and ''Mirror Work.'' The exercises she prescribes to be done in front of the mirror are easy but as you start you begin to unlock experiences from within that can completely change your life.
Susan Cain's ''QUIET'' taught me that it is fine to be an introvert and I don't need to feel defensive about it and she gives examples of how introverts succeed at work. Brene Brown's ''Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead'' taught me that it is okay to be vulnerable, it makes us human, not flawed. There is no disgrace in feeling certain emotions but it is important to identify why and work with oneself to overcome them. She uses concrete examples of shame that women, as mothers, subject themselves to.
Ruskin Bond's autobiography ''Lone Fox Dancing" feels like a warm hug on a cold, winter night, as he takes you through heartwrenching moments in his early years when he lost his father, was almost abandoned by his mother and had to fend for himself to reach where he is today.
Roshani Shenazz Nadirshah's ''Angels Speak'' is always at my bedside, giving me beautiful messages when I seek the advice of Angels. I find that each advice that I receive for a specific query or problem is not just apt but turns out to be 100% correct. An element of divinity, as we attribute to works of spiritual seekers, makes this book truly nothing less than a gift of the Angels.
Aarti Raheja's ''Where One is Not a Number'' is perhaps that one book that made a huge difference to me this year as it teaches us why we need to look at the death of a loved one from a completely detached perspective and focus on the lessons it brings our way. As a mother who lost her twelve-year-old son, Aarti Raheja shares her experiences with what happened afterward to help her cope with the grief and sorrow. The messages she receives make sense and bring solace. This year, I have already bought three copies of her book from Amazon and gifted it to loved ones.
For me, gratitude is an everyday habit. I find myself expressing gratitude for every little thing in the journey of life. The wise words of Brother David Steindl-Rast gently remind us, ''It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful.''
I wish you all a beautiful, prosperous year in 2018, with this prayer - let's make every moment an offering of gratitude to the Almighty, with acts of gentle compassion and love to those around us.
Swapna Raghu Sanand is a working mom, a spiritual seeker who blogs about the struggles she faces in the journey of life, the books & experiences that make a difference to her life and her mission is to make everyone happier from within than ever before.
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