Gratitude and Positivity
I’m often asked how I manage to stay positive in this crazy world. How I can ignore the horrors we’re bombarded with through social media and television.
This is my story.
Some years ago I worked twelve hour shifts on the receiving end of 9-1-1 calls.
I spent long hours talking to people having really, really bad days. Perhaps the worst day of their life. I listened to the horrors of fights in the background, to mothers screaming because their child’s life was in danger, to fathers demanding someone come and fix their sick child, to people angry because the ambulance was taking too long.
I had to tell people the ambulance dispatched to them had been diverted to someone with a higher level emergency. I talked people out of pulling the trigger. I gave CPR instructions over the phone.
And then at the end of twelve grueling hours I got in my car and drove home. Had a meal and tried to go to sleep so I could go back in less than twelve hours and do it again.
As you can imagine, sleep didn’t come easy. Sometimes it didn’t come at all. Sometimes I’d be lucky to sleep for a total of ten hours in every four day block. (That’s two, 12-hour-days followed by two 12-hour-nights).
As you can imagine this takes a great toll on the body and I needed to find a way to let go of my work day and clear my mind so I could get sleep on a regular basis—and I wasn’t willing to use medications.
That’s when I stumbled upon the idea of a gratitude journal. However, I wasn’t very good at sticking to the program and writing in it every day. That’s when I got the idea of doing it on facebook, so I was kind of publicly accountable.
I mean it REALLY worked!
Driving home from a long dispatch shift, instead of reliving all the bad calls of the day, I would have to search for something I could write in my Gratitude post. It made me look around. I began to notice the sunrise, dew on the grass, a hawk soaring in the morning or evening sky.
Occasionally I would think back to a “good” call. To a person I talked out of pulling the trigger, or the wail of a baby who hadn’t been breathing when the call first came in.
And when I got home, before going to bed I would do my Facebook Gratitude post. And I started to fall asleep more easily.
I no longer work in ambulance dispatch, but I’ve never stopped my daily posts. They keep me focused. They make me search for the good inside the bad. They show me hope.
And they show me love, because people respond to my posts. Sometime it’s just a like, and other times it’s a thank you for being a bright spot in a stranger’s day.
I have learned to find some spark of positive in any and everything. Do I see the negatives? Darn sure, but I don’t let them have power over me. Even in the worst of times, I can, and will, find a positive.
I will find hope and I will find the positive.
Kathryn Jane, novelist, artist, educator.
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