I need to share where I am today.
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 the most abrupt and painful ending imaginable to what we both held very dear. He was our Rock. Our best friend. And he made our apartment into a home when our closest human family members are nearly 1,000 miles away.
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, big biceps, a cool car, or a baller apartment are worth nothing without the relationships we build and the love we share.
Though I’m an optimist, it’s been a battle to stay positive. I’ve realized that’s the nature of emotional pain: often there is nothing you could have done differently. There is no “what if” because sometimes life is what it is.
Still, despite the deafening silence in my apartment twisting the knife deeper with each workout I write, there’s another way to use pain.
Pain is a call to action.
Pain is an opportunity to reflect and be grateful for what you have and change for the better. You take action when the willingness to stay the same is worse than the pain of taking action.
And how do you take action?
By training. And while physical training is my wheelhouse, it’s become readily apparent 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 sleep
These are all things you can use, right?
So far, I have been focusing on being thankful for the happiness Rocky provided and the loving relationship I have with my wife, family, friends, and the Bach Performance community. They’ve been beacons of light in my time of darkness.
For that, and for you, I’m thankful.
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…
Let’s all be thankful for the health we have, the relationships we’ve built, and the ability to improve both. Thank you for being here.