Trade your expectation for appreciation.
- Tony Robbins
A hard earned smile. That’s what I wore on my face as we reached the top of the Grinnell Glacier trail, approximately 7,000 ft elevation. The night before I lie awake in pain. My ankle so sore I could not sleep. Doing all I could to enjoy my vacation I decided to finally put to practice the wisdom of the words above. I expected to be able to have fun on this trip and hike the trails. I had planned to take in the beauty around me with no limitations except for maybe the weather and the need to get over my own fear of heights and grizzly bears. An injured ankle was not part of the plan. It was frustrating me physically and mentally. I could feel it eroding my joy, my happiness, my fun. In that moment something in me remembered those words I had recently heard, “Trade your expectation for appreciation”. 2 a.m. in the darkness of the Montana night, I didn't have many options. I decided to give this a try.
As frustrated as I was, I began saying “Thank you” just mentally. I didn’t want to wake up my husband. I began, “Thank you for my good ankle. Thank you for my strong legs. Thank you for my hiking poles and the friends that lent them to me. Thank you for the little amount of sleep I have been getting through this night”, etc. This continued until I eventually felt peace & fell asleep again.
As I woke in the morning I felt the pain of my ankle. Almost like a reflex decided to mentally say thank you again. “Thank you for the gorgeous day and good weather. Thank you for my kind husband who’s hiking with me. Thank you, thank you, thank you...”
On I went through the day. “Thank you, thank you, thank you...” constantly looking for what was working instead of what wasn't. Brian and I ran into many unexpected obstacles that day. From eating a breakfast that made us both feel slightly ill, to arriving late to the trailhead, to news that we’d have to take the longer route of the hike than planned due to grizzly bear activity the challenges continued to mount. And, then of course there was my ankle. No doubt it would slow us down at the very least. I was beginning to question if I'd be able to make the 9 mile trek. Should we just turn around and do something else? Would this be worth it?
We decided to do the hike anyway and just see how far we could go, monitoring my ankle as we went. This day was a struggle to put it mildly. It was also one of the most beautiful days of my entire life! In order to keep going, I began saying thank you again. "Thank you for this beautiful scenery. Thank you for keeping us safe". My appreciation was as relentless as the pain in my ankle, especially as we got into the final stretch to reach the top. I continued saying thank you each time I took a step on my sore ankle. “Thank you ankle for still working, still carrying me even though you are hurt. Thank you for these spectacular views." Thank you cold glacier water for soothing my ankle." Gearing up to head back down I was exhausted and concerned. The sun was going down fast and my pace was slow. I began my gratitude practice again. "Thank you new friends for great conversation on the trail. Thank you mountain goat for blocking our way making us pause and rest. Thank you waterfalls for being so gorgeous. Thank you stunning views everywhere I look you are breathtaking and are distracting me from my pain. Thank you sun for shining just long enough for us to complete our hike without leaving us in the dark in the woods as we came back down. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
As we arrived back at the Many Glacier Lodge my entire being was filled with so much relief, fulfillment and joy. Something I honestly didn’t think was possible just 12 hours prior. My frustration transformed to elation and we as walked into the lodge there was a sound that brought me to tears. Beautiful music, a hootennanny, was going on. They sang, “Bumpy road. Take me home to the place where I belong. Many Glacier. Montana. Take me home. Bumpy road. . . ”
This day sure had been bumpy. It had also brought me back home to my happiness. A happiness with truth that I’ll never forget: Gratefulness can and will help take you wherever you want to go. Trade your expectation for appreciation and watch your world change. Frustration turns to elation.
Now more than ever gratefulness is my go-to in times of frustration. It helps me see clearly and understand even pain and frustration in our lives can serve us, making us stronger, ultimately and gloriously leading to all good things!
So, now I'd love to hear from you!
Are there any there any go-tos you have to help you reach your goals and a state of happiness despite difficulties?
Let me know! Share your ideas in the comments below. If you liked this post share it with others too. We all can use a lift from time to time. And who knows, it just might be the words someone needs to hear today!
Here's to enjoying your life & ALL GOOD THINGS!
Thank you so much for reading and have a wonderful week!