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Be the Change: Atti – Grati – Tude

Not long ago, I re-entered the work force after 17 years as a stay-at--home-mom.

With two college degrees under my belt, I found myself once again working in the same arena that I had used to put myself through college in the first place — food service.

Many have asked me why I didn’t go back into my profession of nursing. The reasons I could give are many but, honestly, would you want someone who hadn’t been working in the profession for 17 years taking care of you?

Seriously, I was looking for a job that had a great deal of flexibility, was close to self employment and in which I could still make a decent income. Hence, food service.

I consider myself fortunate to have found a job at an establishment I like and to work with people I really enjoy. Let’s face it: after 17 years, it is quite an adjustment.

I was speaking with a friend one day about the work situation and she, being self employed where work comes and goes, made the comment “be grateful you have work; many of us don’t.”

I replied, “Oh, I am grateful!”

As I thought about that a little more in depth I realized that even though I am grateful, it was more of a passing thought than a real heartfelt feeling. Was I really grateful or did I just expect that because I wanted a job I could get one?

The more I thought about this idea of gratitude, I once again reflected on experiences with my children as they grew up. I remember many times feeling they weren’t very grateful for all the things I did for them. To be honest, I oftentimes resented that.

It dawned on me that the smallest expression of gratitude, a simple sincere thank you, goes a very long way. Maybe my children were grateful, but they didn’t express it very well, kind of like I was with my new job. Was I now looking in the mirror and reflecting back at myself what I saw in my children? How often did I neglect to express gratitude to them for the little things they did for me? Did I just take for granted the hard work my husband did every day, without any comments of appreciation? Would a tiny expression of gratitude for the little things have not only made them feel good but also brought to me the gratitude I was looking for in return? How interesting.

With all these thoughts swirling around in my head I was reminded of a couple of things I had not only heard before but also used in the past when teaching kids natural horsemanship. It is the importance of attitude and gratitude, or atti-grati-tude. When combined they are a powerful force. It is funny how we can sometimes grasp a concept and teach it to others, but when applying it to ourselves it can be significantly more difficult and easy to forget.

Armed with this gentle reminder, I decided to make a list of at least five things I could be grateful for every day. I realize in troubling times this can seem like a real challenge, but there are so many little things to be grateful for: things we often just take for granted but are in abundance all around us.

For instance, air and water. Where would any one of us be without those? Food, shelter, and clothing — even if they aren’t the greatest, if we have them, it is something to be grateful for everyday. As I started doing this, my list kept getting longer and longer. I found that by starting my day with gratitude the whole day goes better. I am in a much more thankful frame of mind and it translates to me showing more gratitude and thankfulness to others as well. Truly, a little bit goes a long way.

I ran across this piece by Charles Swindell entitled “Attitudes” and thought it had merit.

“The longer I live the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

“Attitude, to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will break a company, a church, a home.

“The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you.

“We all have a choice about our attitudes and the choice to be grateful no matter what the situation. All of life is a journey full of experiences to learn and grow from. What we learn and how we grow can depend on the gratitude in our attitude.”

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, and so much to truly be thankful for, Be the Change, take the challenge, and make your own gratitude list. Let’s spread the atti-grati-tude around and make this the best Thanksgiving ever!

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday the next meeting for Be the Change Pagosa Springs will be held 7-8:30 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard. . All are welcome to join us for an evening of encouragement and enlightenment.

For more info call Andrea at 903-6047 or e-mail