Welcome to this meditation on gratitude. Before we begin, take a few really deep breaths and get nice and relaxed.

It's often said that the most terrible thing in your life is directly related to the most terrific thing. There's so much to learn from your challenges and struggles. They make you who you are. A bad experience in your career only allows you to appreciate a good experience that much more. A tough breakup teaches you invaluable lessons that will make your next relationship even better.

Everyone in life gets knocked down in matters of health, love, money, career. Not everyone gets back up. Recently, I had the chance to interview some people in the latter part of their lives. We're talking their 60s, 70s, 80s. On lady was even in her 90s. These people are remarkably healthy and active deep into old age. I wanted to know what was their secret to health and longevity.

And the one thing that they had in common was how they responded to their life's great challenges. A lady named Betty was 90 years young. And earlier in her life, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. And just two years later, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She survived both cancers, and she went on to become an advocate for women overcoming their cancer. Betty was not just resilient but grateful for the turn her life took and her ability to overcome and even thrive.

I interviewed a guy named John in his mid 60s. He spent most of his life as a renowned photographer. And as it sometimes goes, his marriage went through difficult times, and he went through a really tough divorce. So to heal, he committed months at a time canoeing across America's rivers and waterways.

And out on the river, paddling 12 hours each day for months at a time, his pain slowly healed. He bounced back. And today, he's grateful for the new direction his life took, a direction that was born from a really challenging time in his life.

I also spoke to a guy named Bruce, who's now in his mid 70s. And when he was 27, his father died of a heart attack. And less than 90 days later, his mom was killed in a car accident. He became very clear that he wanted a life filled with compassionate, loving relationships, formed in respect to the loss of his parents. He considers his relationships in marriage, parenting, and business to be sacred, and that's the key to his success.

Betty as an advocate, John on the river, Bruce as a nurturer, they all connected the most terrible thing in their lives to the most terrific thing. But they had to make the decision to bounce back from their struggle, to say thank you for their challenges, and to rise to the occasion of life.

What is your challenge right now? Maybe it's something in your career or maybe something to do with your health. Possibly your challenge is financial or romantic in nature. Each day, we are faced with the decision to be greater than our challenges and stronger than our circumstances, to bounce back.

And the best way to do that, the way that John, Betty, and Bruce did that, was to wrap your arms around life rather than push it away. That's hard to do in difficult times, all the more reason to meditate.

So let's take a moment to prepare for today's meditation. Get even more comfortable. Relax your shoulders off your neck. Loosen your jaw. Soften your toes. And just take a few really deep breaths.

And while you are relaxed and meditating, it's very common for your mind to wander off. And if that happens, come back to these words to center your mind in the present moment. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you for the challenges. Thank you for the struggles. Thank you for the tough times. Thank you for the victories. Thank you for the triumphs. Thank you for the good times. Thank you for it all.

Wrap your arms around life, the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the highs and the lows. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. For a few minutes, I will leave you to relax, to be grateful, to meditate. And in just a few minutes, I'll be back, quietly repeating in your mind, thank you, thank you, thank you.


Coming back to the moment. The secret embraced by Betty, John, and Bruce, to be resilient, to bounce back, to embrace the challenges rather than resist them. It may take time to bounce back. Nobody said you had to do it quickly. But ultimately, it's better to get back on your feet, to keep truckin'.

The most terrible thing that happens is almost always connected to the most terrific thing, so long as you bounce back. And when you need reminding, when you're going through a tough time, remember, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I'll see you soon. Peace.


USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Phone Number: 877-700-4679
Email Address: sswvac@msw.usc.edu


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