I have the privilege to introduce you to a remarkable woman, Vismaya Rubin. She has been practicing gratitude and teaching her students in Florida for twenty years the art of practicing gratitude. She has changed her life and those of her students. Not by changing the circumstances of their lives, but by training them to look for and notice the positive little golden nuggets in their lives.
Vismaya feels that she has been practicing gratitude since she was a child.
Her mother is bi-polar and her parents divorced when she was three. There were many difficult episodes that she experienced living with her mother who was dealing with her mental health issues.
“People felt sorry for me and I didn’t want any of that. I didn’t want the pity. I would tell them, ‘Look at all the good that is happening.’ “
Way back in 2011 Vismaya attended a workshop where she met a woman who mentioned that she keeps little notes on which she writes her wishes, her worries, her thoughts.
“The next day my friend called to tell me that she was having such a bad day. So I said, ‘If you had a gratitude bag you wouldn’t be complaining.’
So I made these gratitude bags. There are 36 cards. The idea is to write down what you are grateful for, your favorite affirmation, positive things, and you carry it around with you. If you are in a traffic jam, or life is one big mess, you touch it and it’s a reminder that there are also good things in your life.”
“I quit teaching to start the movement of Living in Gratitude Today. I send out two weekly emails. The first outlines what we are going to work with that week. The second one is sent out midweek as a booster. The idea is to shift the hard things aside to allow one to see the positive in one’s life. Sometimes there are fun activities, and sometimes there is soul-searching.
The more I learn the more I share. I’m a student along with everyone else.”
“There is a slogan that I just love. ‘Gratitude is not for the intellectually lethargic. It’s a difficult state to create and maintain.”
“To combat the missiles that life shoots our way I have created Gratitutde CPR.
C-Compartmentalize – Know that this difficulty is only one part of your life. There are many other things going on to be grateful for. Write them down.
P-Pause – Literally take a moment to stop. Breathe deeply. We all have phones and other devices. Set them to go off every 3-4 hours and take a break.
R-Reflect – Did anything happen in the last 3 hours that made me smile or laugh or just feel good? Did someone do something nice for me or did I have the opportunity to do something nice for someone else? It can be something small. Even if you can’t think of something, give yourself permission to say – ‘That’s okay.’ Be gentle with yourself.’ “
Vismaya got her real start in 2013. Her dad had part of his lung removed. Two days later her cousin called to say that her husband had been killed in a car accident. Three weeks later her mom was in the hospital with a stroke. Three weeks after that her aunt was admitted into the hospital and they knew it was the last stop. She feels that with all the misery and stress, each time some Divine Intervention allowed her to find things to be grateful for.
Sara Blakely says that when she makes her task list, she changes the “I got
to do” and replaces it with “ I get to do.” Instead of I’ve got to go grocery shopping or I’ve got to pick up the kids. I have money to buy groceries and I get to buy them. I have children and I get to pick them up because I have a car.
Vismaya feels that being of service is very important to her. Her family is also high on the list of important things. When her uncle was suffering with Parkinson’s and she was his caretaker, she would look at him and say to herself, “ You’re here because you are creating a moment of gratitude for him.”
She created a Gratitude Journal. It has 52 weeks, but no dates. A person can fill it in one day and then even skip a couple of days. Then just pick it up again and don’t feel bad about it.
People who wish to connect to her movement can go to Living in Gratitude Today.com/join. She puts out a free calendar to fill in those moments of gratitude.
Today is the now – that’s what we have to deal with. What is hope for Vismaya? “There’s always a second chance. A do over. There’s always a tomorrow.”