What is your greatest gift?

The fall of 2007 was, for me, a time of self-reflection and life-changing decisions; coming to the realization that I must lose certain things in order to find myself.

For years, I worked at an interesting and profitable job in the chaotic corporate world.  The stress of being on call 24/7 was beginning to take a toll on my mental and physical well-being.  I found myself having incessant negative thoughts, doing something that I was no longer passionate about, and just going through the motions of life.

I took a long weekend to visit with friends at their lake house.  While everyone sat around enjoying the beautiful weather, I prayed quietly and asked for some sort of sign that would lead me in the right direction.  At that moment an upside-down rainbow appeared in the sky.  I have been blessed to see many beautiful rainbows, but this one seemed to be saying, “don’t worry, everything is going to be alright”.

I returned to work with the thought, “just do the best you can and don’t over-exert yourself”.  One day I felt sharp pains in my chest and my hands were aching.  That is the day I knew it was time to make some changes in my life.  I resigned from my job.  Unfortunately, some family members were not supportive of my decision.  The question was, “what are you going to do all day?”  The answer:  Get healthy and start to live again!  I learned to set boundaries and not feel the need to have everyone’s approval.  The decision was between me and my husband.  Remember, YOU own your life.  It belongs to you!

Some other healthy choices I’ve made have been letting go of friends who do not contribute to my growth or who drain my energy. I try to work on my relationships, but sometimes in life, we all have our own issues to deal with in our own time-line. I no longer hesitate to keep my own world healthy.

I realized that the things I owned ended up owning my freedom.  We don’t need a lot to get by.  We have lived in our house for the past eleven years, and I never had the time to truly appreciate the beautiful serene wooded trails behind our house.  I didn’t make the time, nor did I understand how important it was to quiet the mind and really be in nature…to live it, breathe it, and not take an ounce for granted.  A family of seven deer frequently keeps me company while I tweet and write to the world.  Butterflies and birds keep me company while I gaze out my window with my thoughts.  I am extremely grateful to have the freedom to write this post – to share with those who may be going through a similar situation.  Yes, listen to your intuition; but be responsible for your economic decision.

I live my life with enthusiasm, and try to be positive every day.  This is my on-going job.  I try to keep my Twitter stream positive and live by the quotes I tweet.  I now experience a much more fruitful life by choosing to be happy, even though at times it can be difficult.  When darker things happen, I try to find the lesson in each situation. When I walk in the nature trails that I never noticed two years ago, I get to experience magical things. Positive affirmations and positive attitude can direct our day.  Which direction do you choose?

My world became brighter once I chose to live each day in serenity and gratitude.  My health is truly my greatest gift.

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9 Replies to “What is your greatest gift?

  1. Hmm….reallly made me think also about “intuition” & going with a gut feeling, having recently & suddenly lost my Father, starting to re-evaluate what is truly “important” in life!

  2. Lovely heartfelt post Ann. Sadly the comment I just left didn’t go through.

    I’m impressed you made the best investment of your life – to look after your health.

    I’m also glad you have filtered out those unhealthy relationships and instead surrounded yourself with positive and supportive people.

    Thanks for sharing

    Natalie

  3. Thank you a thousand times over for this very personal post. For years, I lived like you did. Every morning I would get a panic attack as soon as I saw the corporate office and, on most days, I would leave work only to drive a block before pulling over to cry. It was a good paying IT job with benefits – but it was in the collection’s agency and my soul knew that I could not support a company that was harassing people who could not pay their medical bills.

    Fast forward to 2005 and you will find me owning a small business but still quite sick. I loved what I did and could not figure out why I was always sick. In 2010, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

    The diagnosis was a wake up call to live the life I was meant to live. I revamped my home-based business – only concentrating on my love of SEO and social media. I was no longer stressed by making a sale but rather than adding value to other people’s companies. When I made that shift, my business exploded and my health is now on the warrior path.

    I needed this reminder today that 1) I’m not alone and 2) I can do anything that my body, mind and soul are at peace with. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  4. Inspiring! Thank you Ann for sharing! Such a beautiful message…you took the right steps and have touched so many lives by doing so. My motto is to Be Inspired & Celebrate YOU!:) Enjoy your journey…

  5. Ann this is wonderfully written and I can so relate. I experienced something similar with my past career in TV Production. I was climbing up and building a resume that impressed everyone but me. It was such a hustle! I felt like my every breath was my career and I started growing bitter and questioning my life? One day I went to lunch and something inside me told me to not go back. I didn’t. I lost a lot of “friends” that couldn’t understand why I would leave such a career (and of course the money). Now I feel like I’m 15-20 yrs younger. I laugh daily and I enjoy life fully. I take time to look at the birds and the squirrels and things I never noticed before. It really makes a difference! I also choose to see the positive things in life. The world has so many bad things, however the good outweighs the bad on any day! OK so now I’m a “millionaire” with an “economic handicap” but no amount of money could lure me back to that existence. I think many people are struggling with this battle. We often live life for others and rarely for ourselves. Imperare Sibi, Maximum Imperium Est…To Conquer Oneself, Is The Greatest COnquest!

  6. Beautifully written and what great perspective. Time passes so fast and we’re so busy “gettin” – by the time you turn around to watch …it’s over.

    The greatest gift I’ve been given is to know the value of being still.

  7. What an awesome post Ann. Actually gave me chills of what could be.

    Nothing destroys our health more than stress and unhappiness. To have the strength to change from “all we know” to the unknown takes amazing faith. Bless you for having the faith to choose a peaceful life. You will be able to accomplish amazing things.

    Nothing is more thrilling to me than to be out walking and look up to see the geese. They fly in a V-formation and quack encouragement to each other. My greatest gift is I am a pretty good quacker. I know what it’s like to be down-and-out in life and have someone offer a hand up.

    So if quacker qualifies as a gift, then my quacking is my greatest gift.

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