Publisher - November 2019
When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. —Willie Nelson
Ground Zero is the center of origin of rapid intense change. It is also the beginning—square one. Three years ago I found myself at Ground Zero, and learned how it became a blessing in disguise.
In the fall of 2016, everything normal in my life changed—rapidly and intensely. First, I became an empty nester. Some of you may think “Thank God,” but I was newly separated from a 24-year marriage, trying to hang on, and I found myself lost and lonely.
A few weeks later, Hurricane Matthew hit. The telephone call with neighbor who had not evacuated went something like this:
Elizabeth, I’m at your house. There are two huge trees on top.”
There’s a key. Can you go in? I wait. I hear the front door open. There is silence. Then in a small weakened voice, through controlled sobs: “Elizabeth, your house is demolished. Completely uninhabitable. I can’t even get down the hall to the bedrooms. The trees. My God the trees.”
I was homeless. But there was hope. My estranged husband said we would would work together to rebuild it all. Eight days later I was served surprise divorce papers at the office in front of my staff. That’s when I found myself at ground zero, left alone to rebuild our family home and my life from scratch.
My entire being—mind, spirit and soul—was crushed. Everything I knew was no more. I was depressed. All I wanted to do is stay in bed and sleep.
One day, I was invited to lunch by Frances Umlauf, a fabulous woman I had interviewed for a story in the magazine. She is wise, classy, funny; I only knew her through the interview, but she had heard about my situation and called me for a lunch date. I accepted, even though I had to make myself go—and not wear yoga pants—and she very honestly shared her story about her fall to ground zero:
“I pictured myself galvanized. Dipped in a coating where nothing could penetrate. I had to be smart. I became Galvanized Girl—like a superhero.”
That’s exactly what I needed, a teflon coating per se. Where new pain couldn’t hold on. It would just slide off like a fried egg. This galvanization allowed me to envision myself as strong, protected…and shiny.
I had a moment of clarity. BUT Every superhero needs superpower, I didn’t know what mine was, but here’s how I found it:
I was at my sister’s and as I walked up the stairs I noticed the rise of each step had a few words written in chalk. My eyes climbed and I read: What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you were grateful for today? I don’t know if my gasp was audible, but this thought penetrated me. There’s no doubt, I would have less.
So in a time when I thought everything had been stripped from me, this question opened me up to how incredibly much I had.
As I recounted people, things—and I’m referring to small things, which come to find out are big things—, the sweet sound of laughter, grocery stores (I don’t have to count on myself to grow food), toilet paper, well, you know. Things I had taken for granted were running through my head: the sofa, the shower, the stove, my employees, the places that jut showed up for me to live— I moved six times during the rebuild— my bed, wine. Oh how I was grateful for wine! Gratitude filled me.
I found it! My superpower! It is gratefulness! Grateful Galvanized Girl! BUT guess what!! It’s your superpower too! Gratefulness fills the emptiness inside of us. Everyone has experienced their own personal ground zero. Gratitude is THE one thing that can change your life instantly!! It will take you from ground zero to solid ground.
You can start right now— there’s no cost, no special equipment, or no health or age requirements. Think of something or someone you’re grateful for. Now smile. Because there’s so much more—when you are grateful you physically shift your focus and energy; lack becomes plentitude, gloom turns into growth and anger fades into peace.
Fact: It is IMPOSSIBLE to focus on what you have and what you don’t have at the same time. This is why gratefulness is a superpower—it supersedes constant want and snuffs out the fear associated with lack. Did you know bitterness and gratefulness cannot exist in the same thought? Neither can disappointment and gratitude, resentment and gratitude, or greed and gratitude!
Plus, when you shift to grateful living, you also get the support of all of gratitude’s posse: hope, happiness, confidence, resilience, fulfillment, success and satisfaction. Satisfaction. When is the last time you truly felt satisfied in the depths of your soul?
Gratitude has been scientifically proven to benefit every area of your life:
Emotionally: relax more, resilient, less jealous, reduced anger.
Socially: you will be kinder, have more friendships, deeper relationships, perhaps a healthier marriage, maybe even more sex.
Gratitude improves your health, your sleep, your energy. Grateful people are more likely to achieve their goals.
If it came in a prescription bottle it would read: Cures arrogance, bad attitudes, entitlement, inferiority and overall want.
I’m telling you Gratitude is the Holy Grail of life. IT IS the key to happiness.
I became Galvanized Girl before I stepped into my superpower. But the real superhero is Gratitude. I put on my superhero gratitude glasses and suddenly saw all the blessings flowing in and through my life. And that, itself, is a glorious blessing.
Here’s a question for you: What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you were grateful for today?