This past Sunday I was in a funk.
It was April 3rd but with the wind howling and snow falling, it felt like we were right back in the middle of February. My efforts to accept the weather and be OK with all the seasons are still very much a work in progress and I've been waiting for spring with every ounce of me. As silly as it might sound, this strange April storm was enormously disheartening.
And then there was just this general funk. You know the kind, it's there, there isn't one specific reason for it, but it's there and you're swimming in it.
I'd just come back from a speaking engagement and was way behind on email, so decided to move through the funk with productivity. The third email I opened began like this:
"Heyyy Natalyyyy!! :):)
My name is Sanah, I'm 19, from the UK.
I was reading your email yesterday about GRATITUDE and I absolutely loved it, it ticked a light bulb on in my genius head.
Can you be grateful for everything? No. BUT IN EVERY MOMENT.
I was in bed whilst reading your email and I was like "I'm so grateful to have these water bottles keeping me warm, a roof over my head and my blankets."
As soon as I started to read it, I felt sunshine, but from the inside. I don't know how else to describe it. There was something about it that was filling me with sunshine inside.
And then I clicked on a YouTube link in the email.
Sanah titled the video: Different takes on Dis ABILITY. After watching it for a minute, my eyes were filled with sunny tears.
I've posted the link at the bottom of this article, so you can watch it too. It's a little more than 2 minutes long and I think those 2 minutes will be a really good part of your day. I'm pretty certain, actually.
But first, meet Sanah :)
You never know where a really important life reminder is waiting for you. This time it was waiting for me in a video by Sanah.
What she reminded me about was something so simple, and yet something so easy to forget:
Being grateful for the good things in our lives doesn't mean denying the bad / difficult / sad parts of life.
It simply means choosing where to focus our attention.
Wherever we are in our lives, we can choose to practice gratitude and be happier. It is a choice we always have, no one can give it or take it away.
I might be the CEO of a company called Happier, but for a long time I didn't believe this. It felt like to focus on something positive when something big in life wasn't OK was like cheating on reality.
Through a lot of wrong turns and tough lessons, I came to understand that the joy we feel when we focus on something good amid something difficult isn't fake. And it's certainly not cheating. Rather, it's the best way we can serve that moment in our life: To notice it's beauty, it's goodness, in whatever form it may be.
Here's Sanah's 2-minute video. Warning: may cause hope and sunshine inside.