May 10, 2017
I need to share something.
Two nights ago, my wife and I had to put down our Golden Retriever, Rocky.
Days earlier, Rocky had been brightening our lives — as he’s done for four years.
It was a painful and unexpected goodbye to a dear friend.
He was our Rock. Our closest human family members are nearly 1,000 miles away, but Rocky turned our modest apartment into a home.
Our hearts were broken. Then the grieving started.
A few hours later, with emotions still raw, I wrote on my Facebook page:
“To my pal, Rocky:
The way you kept me company when I worked from my desk, woke me up by jumping on the bed, and the way you greeted us after a long day at work with a smile, tail wag, and unconditional love won’t be forgotten. We’re glad you’re no longer suffering and cherish the memories you brought us.
We’ll miss you, buddy.”
Walking out of the ER with an empty leash and a crying wife on my arm provided a tough reminder:
Nothing is guaranteed. You are promised nothing.
Not in the next ten minutes, not tomorrow, and not ten years from now. All we have is the present.
At the end of the day, money, a cool car, a baller apartment and a great set of biceps are worth nothing without the relationships we build and the love we share.
It’s been a battle to stay positive. That’s the nature of emotional pain. Sometimes life is what it is.
Despite the deafening silence in my apartment twisting the knife deeper with each workout I write or blog post I attempt to write, there’s another way to use pain.
Pain is a call to action.
Pain is an opportunity to be grateful for what you have, recognize where you are, and change for the better. You can always take action. You can recognize that the pain of taking action is more desirable than the pain of staying the same. You can always get better.
Mental training is one of the most overlooked components of health. If you don’t have a healthy mind, can you have a healthy body? I don’t think so.
So here’s what I’m going to do. Instead of beating myself up about what I could have done differently in handling Rocky’s short illness, I’m going to start a gratitude practice.
The benefits are numerous, including:
– Improved physical and psychological health
– Improved empathy
– Improved self-esteem
– Improved mental strength
These are all things you can use, right?
So far, I have been focusing on being thankful for the happiness Rocky provided, along with the loving relationship I have with my wife, family, friends, and the Bach Performance community. They have been beacons of light in my time of darkness.
Now, I have a question to ask you. Will you join me in building a practice of gratitude?
If so, here’s how.
Take 3-5 minutes each morning to write five things you’re thankful for. Consider your health and career. And most of all: your relationships.
Let’s all be thankful for the health we have, the relationships we’ve built, and the ability to improve both.
May 12, 2017 Update:
Many thanks for the hundreds of messages of support. I am more grateful than I can say.