The months of January through June are pretty gray in the Pacific Northwest. Typically we wake to cloudy skies, rain, and moderately chilly temperatures.

Today, the sun is shining. As I sit and write this post, the sun is streaming into the room through open windows, lifting my spirits while lighting my home.

The simple change in atmosphere has an amazing effect. I’m happier. My outlook is different. The blue sky has me thinking about an afternoon at the park or a family bike ride. The sun represents possibilities, hope, and change. It’s a sign that brighter days are coming.

It’s the same way with our attitudes. A shift in focus or a change in perspective can make all the difference.

So, how does the change come about? How do we transform or minds and hearts in such a way that we’re a ray of sunshine instead of the proverbial little black rain cloud?

You have to steep your life in gratitude. One of my favorite afternoon rituals is my cup of tea. I pour the hot water in my favorite mug, and let my teabag steep. The longer I leave the bag in the water, the deeper and richer my tea becomes. The flavor grows. It becomes stronger.

The longer we live a life that is steeped in gratitude, the fuller and richer it becomes. We grow stronger, as we change our focus from what we don’t have – to what we do.

When you can’t change your circumstances, you must change yourself. When you’re fixated on what you don’t or can’t have, your skies will always be gray.

About a year ago, I had a powerful realization. My husband and I had been walking through four very difficult years. We’d lost a child, friends, income, and our hope was on its last legs. During this time, it was easy for me to think about everything we didn’t have. I thought about everything I wanted and everything I thought we deserved.

One night, everything changed. Our circumstances hadn’t changed. I did.

There was a shift in my thinking, as I realized the depth of what I did have. That day, deep down in my soul, I knew that what I had, right then at that moment, was ENOUGH.

Contentment pushes away the dark clouds and allows light to shine, where there was once only darkness. Choosing to focus on the things you do have (especially in the midst of a painful or difficult phase of life) is like drawing back the curtains and allowing the sunlight to stream into your home. It’s a small change that changes everything.

Let the sun in.

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