This post is about how a butterfly challenged priorities, lessons learned, and what I'm still in the midts of learning.
About a year ago or so I met with a Swedish “colleague” in one of the organisations that I work for. She showed me a bag, she carried around, containing approximately 200 tiny figures of animals. “Pick one”, she said, “pick the one you think describe you the best, and tell me about your choice”.
I picked a butterfly, and I’ve been carrying this butterfly around in my purse ever since.
I love summer and springtime, and all what comes with these seasons.
I enjoy watching the ease of the butterfly when it flies, and it reminds me of my mindset. The last 10 years or so it has been mostly light, optimistic and appreciative, but it surely didn’t come naturally to me. I originally had a tendency to worry way too much, constantly planning and living in the future, and hardly noticing the goals actually achieved.
Last but not least the butterfly, to me, resemble freedom. Something I value dearly!
A butterfly with uneven wings
The human thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located in the base of our neck. It releases hormones that control metabolism—the way our body uses energy. The thyroid's hormones regulate vital body functions such as our breathing, heart rate, central and peripheral nervous systems, body weight, muscle strength, body temperature and much more. So small and still so powerful. Quite magic actually when you stop and reflect for a while.
For years this “butterfly” of mine has been too active, making – amongst other things – my appetite on food - as well as on life in general - very “healthy”, and my energy level quite high.
This doesn’t seem serious, and can in some ways even seem advantageous. However I’ve learned that it’s not all good, so a few months back I finally accepted to start medicinal treatment and regular health checks to try to normalize this condition.
Since mid November however I haven’t felt so good. I’ve been working as normal, and I’ve been doing everything else more or less like normal. My late grandmother is my role model, and we don’t accept obstacles. Obstacles are here to be overcome, even when physical conditions are standing in our way. So I found ways to cope.
During the last month, I also managed to register gratitude each and every day, most days also including a photo, but when reaching the time in the evening, when I normally post my gratitude, the “wings” just didn’t wanna carry me any longer, and by November 28th and til now, I chose to accept just to register and stock the gratitude in my mind without posting and sharing.
Out of My hands?
Having them telling me that I should actually be pleased that this is out of my influence, that is way beyond my comprehension.
"But what if I told you that there were something you could do, and you tried your very best, and it still didn't make a difference?", the doctor asked, a male in his late 30's or early 40's. "...Like some people with diabetes. They are told that they need to exercise, and then they run and run, but the exercise has no influence what so ever on their medical condition", he continues.
"I'm sorry", I replied, "I simply don't understand your question".
"How can knowing you have a chance to make a difference yourself, and doing all you can to succeed ever be undesirable? Even without knowing if you'll succeed or fail."
A matter of choice
Here are some of these reflections and decisions brought together in a collage of quotes collected and attempted implemented throughout the years:
“The greatest wealth is health. Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life."
"Any success that happens at the expense of your health, your relationships or your character is not real success."
"You’ll only regret the chances you didn’t take, relationships you were afraid to have, and the decisions you waited too long to make."
"Never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks."
"Do it now. Sometimes “later” becomes never. Life is happening now."
"Life is short and there will always be dirty dishes, so let’s dance."
"The only way to do great work is to do what you love, and make sure you love what you do."
"Never ignore what your heart pumps for. Mold your career around your lifestyle, not your lifestyle around your career."
"What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are. Make the impossible possible."
"Your true worth is determined by how much you give in value not how much you take in payment."
"Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them."
"Ad value. Be the reason someone smiles today."
"Love! And be in love with your life. Every minute of it."
"One positive thought in the morning can change your whole day."
"Give thanks for a little and you’ll find a lot."
It's NOT easy
And a life in good health is a state of well-being not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
I learned that during 2013-2014, when me and my family were through difficult times.
And now during the last months of dealing with a tiny butterfly.
And gratitude through this is absolutely not easy.
Some days it's even really, really hard.
However it's a choice!
I made a choice in 2003 to try very hard each and every day.
For my own sake, but also to try to give some of the same choices to my children.
"Dance" might have been supplemented with "Sing" - and being almost 13, eating healthy is surely a challenge with him, if I let him decide for himself, but for the rest, the above is more or less how both children have developed so far.
I made a choice during 2013 to focus on gratitude instead of challenges and fears.
Not for them nor for me.
But my mindset is mine to choose.
I've spend 300 days posting gratitude posts, and way more than 322 days choosing to feel grateful at least once a day. Even on days where gratitude seemed to be the most difficult feeling to discover.
I'll keep doing this. Hopefully for the rest of my life.
Even though I haven't reached 365 days of posting in 2015, which was the rule I made for myself.
However I'm now saying: "fuck the rule. I choose freedom". Freedom to choose. And my choice is to continue noticing and feeling gratitude each and every day, but my energy in front of the computer will from now on be used differently. Maybe on a new project for 2016.
I haven't decided upon that yet.
So this will be my last gratitude post. Thank you for following. Thank you for the emails, the texts and the FB messages that I've had during the year regarding the project. I appreciate each and every feedback more than you might ever dream of.
I hope your 2016 will be loaded with reasons for gratitude! And I hope you'll choose to notice and value these moments.