PM & G

I experienced a technological “mishap” today. I was trying to connect to a teleseminar for an afternoon of learning. Instead of hearing the featured speaker, there were three of us listeners who ended up on the phone line together. One of them, Todd Jensen, took charge in suggesting we introduce ourselves and share the titles of our books.

I quickly became thankful for the “problem.” Todd shared his book, On Gratitude, to be released on World Gratitude Day September 21st (Learn more at his website, His message moves me and reminds me.

I was first introduced to the gratitude journal back in 1995. Initially I thought I would be repeating myself to come up with 5 “gratefuls” every day. What I quickly discovered was there was not enough room allocated for each day and I was writing in the margins of the book. I surprised myself one blistery hot August day by saying, “I am grateful for air conditioning.” What a contrast to my usual whining about the Texas summer heat!

Many years later, I had a profound experience with gratitude on one of the most difficult days ever with my parents. Both of them were experiencing failing health. Their physician said it was no longer safe for them to be living independently in their apartment. Three medical social workers said they must be moved to an assisted living facility and if it did not happen they would report me to the state as not being an adequate caregiver for my parents.

It could have been easy. While they were still functioning better mentally and physically, my brother had taken them to visit several such facilities. They had selected their favorite and we had everything in place when future needs determined it necessary. My mother had even said she was ready then as she would no longer have to cook or clean. However, when it came down to it, she was the one that resisted most vehemently. She stood resolutely, with feet planted firmly in front of me saying, “I won’t move and you can’t make me!”

I had tried everything I knew to convince and reassure them. In desperation I called a social worker friend who had worked with the elderly. He suggested that I call the state myself, reporting the situation and requesting support from their social worker. It was Friday early evening and I knew there was nothing else I could do until Monday morning. I had other important family business that I needed to attend to that weekend and wanted to be in a place of greater peace within myself.

That is when I discovered what I call, “Present Moment, Grateful.” I was in my car, driving down a country road. I asked myself, “What am I grateful for?” I am grateful that I have a car. I am grateful that I have gas in the car. I am grateful I have money to put gas in the car. I am grateful for a safe road to drive on….

I continued….”What do I see I was grateful for?” I am grateful for the blue sky, the beautiful white clouds, bright and dark greens of the leaves swaying in the breeze…..”What do I hear I am grateful for?” I am grateful for the car radio. I am grateful for the large selection of stations available to me…. “What do I smell I am grateful for?” I am grateful for the smell of the fresh outside air…. “What do I taste I am grateful for?”…. “What do I touch I am grateful for?”….

As I moved my attention into the present moment, involving all five senses, I felt my body sink into a peaceful relaxation. I felt my heartbeat slow, my blood pressure lower. I became present to all that I usually take for granted. By the time I reached my next destination I was feeling great joy!

I have now reduced the Present Moment and Grateful to PM & G. Whenever I find myself feeling frustrated, tense, upset, powerlessness, I remind myself to go to PM & G. I invite you, as you experience those “mishaps” to try it. Let me know how it works for you!

Watch for next week’s blog: PM&G, Part 2.

(THE REST OF THE STORY: The social worker from the state came out on Monday. When my mother realized the state would become their guardian if she did not cooperate she agreed to move. By that afternoon they were safe in their new home. My learnings from this: be prepared for future needs and ask for help from others.)

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