We all have anniversaries - the anniversary of the day we met someone special, got married, started a job or left one - a date of an event that holds personal significance for us. Most times, we associate them with happy occasions. Sometimes though, an anniversary brings up sadness, grief, anger or another emotion we might not be so keen on feeling.
My Personal Gratitude Day is one of my anniversaries. It came out of a need to reframe a situation and the memories associated with it, and eventually give a new name to the event.
On February 7, 2011, I crashed. Going 65mph on the freeway. First into the car in front of me, and then, spinning around, into the cement median. It was scary. And it was painful.
It was also pretty amazing. My car was smashed like an accordion, but I was alive. I'd broken my clavicle, dislocated ribs, needed surgery, and had plenty of bumps and bruises. But I was breathing, conscious, talking - alive. And the guy in the car in front of me was walking, talking, and thankfully, unbroken and alive.
Weeks later, when I went to sign-off on my totaled car, the tow truck manager looked quite surprised to see me. He said when cars arrive in that condition, people usually aren't around anymore to claim them. (I had warned my mother that my car might look "kinda bad", and that she might cry...instead, it was me who cried. )
Time passed, I went back to work, started going on business trips again, continued with physical therapy, and worked on shifting some things in my life that needed rearranging (yes, crashes can be a great wake-up call!).
But then, in the weeks leading up to the the one-year anniversary of The Great Crash, I started having nightmares. I was nervous and jittery. And I didn't want to drive anywhere, especially on the highway where the accident happened (which was the highway that took me to and from work).
I shared my anxiety with my physical therapist one day mid-exercise. And in her wisdom, she suggested reframing the anniversary and looking at how far I'd come in the past year, how miraculously our bodies healing abilities are, and how I was past the time in my life when I needed to have crashes for wake-up calls.
That night I took out a journal and started to write down all I was grateful for. And I decided that rather than dreading or fearing the upcoming anniversary, I would rename it "My Personal Gratitude Day." And, I would find a way to celebrate the occasion. (I also may have arranged a ride to work on that first anniversary day...)
My first Personal Gratitude Day, the one-year anniversary of the event formerly-known-as The Great Crash, I commemorated the occasion by bringing a box of cupcakes to the office and sending another box to my colleagues in DC; I decided to share my gratitude day - and my sweet tooth - with everyone I worked with.
The second year, fresh out of the confinements of a corporate schedule, I spent the day at the beach. Walking, journaling, meditating (well, sort of meditating), doing reiki, and just taking in all of the splendor and beauty of life.
And this year, I've decided to share my Personal Gratitude Day with all of you. To celebrate, I am offering my services for 50% off the usual rates. Any services purchased on February 7, 2014 are 50% off. Here are the details. (I might still go to the beach and eat cupcakes, in case you want to join me for that too.)
I am grateful to be here. I am grateful to be walking, talking, breathing, dancing, writing. And I am grateful to be doing the work that I am doing. Thank you for being here to share it with me!
Happy Anniversary, Happy Gratitude Day!