When Life Sucks, Be Grateful

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

December 12th, 2013 • Living with Chronic PainPrint Print

I have a practice that the worse mood I’m in, and the more crap I have to deal with, the more gratitudes I make myself write. If I think I can’t come up with 10, I make myself write 50. Inevitably, when I write down gratitudes, I gain perspective on my life and feel infinitely better than when I first started writing them.

Similarly, on the site of the car crash on Saturday night, when a driver slammed her car into mine while I was stopped at a red light, I quickly moved from functional mode to healing mode – stretching out and activating healing in my back, which already was in pain from the impact of the crash, and mentally writing a list of gratitudes about the crash itself. The list at the time went something like this:

I am grateful that…

  1. I am alive!
  2. The crash did not happen on the freeway.
  3. I did not have to go to the hospital.
  4. I can walk.
  5. I have all my body parts intact.
  6. I have the healing tool of dance.
  7. I have two amazing body workers.
  8. My mom is a powerful energy healer.
  9. I have an integrative medicine practitioner who can support me in choosing supplements to help recover from the incident.
  10. I have an ass-kicking diet that will optimize my healing.
  11. I can write about my experience and get my angries out on my blog.
  12. The driver stayed at the scene until the police came and we exchanged our information.
  13. I have a good friend who can guide me on legal matters if it comes to that.
  14. My car is intact and operational.
  15. The incident happened close to my mom’s house, so I could head straight to my mom to get some love, hugs, and energy healing.

Given the trauma I have been through in my life, set off by another car crash that was not my fault, back in 1997, I was consumed by anger for 24 hours after the incident. My mom kept encouraging me to use the energy of the anger to heal the physical pain, as I have done previously in my life, but the anger was too intense to do anything with it except ride the wave and feel the feelings.

Still, throughout it all, I kept repeating gratitudes in my head and expressing them to others. At the end of the day, I have no control over the universe. I simply have the choice (and even that can be limited by circumstance) of how to respond to what happened. Once a trauma happens, it is already over. There is no undoing it. There is only responding to it. By keeping my eye on the positive, practicing gratitude for the many gifts in my life, and leaning into the experience – thinking how to turn it into yet another opportunity for healing, learning, growing, and getting stronger – I can remain happy and both enjoy and celebrate my life, instead of fall into a pit of despair and agony.

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