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Every one of us has had those days when it can feel so difficult, if not impossible, to stay optimistic, to stay hopeful, and motivated. Loving your life, your relationships, your business, or even your home, can still on occasion feel overwhelming or limiting, making running away seem like a really great idea.

In hearing Michael J Fox speak of his life with Parkinson’s and all that he is facing say these words, “With gratitude optimism is sustainable.”  I immediately stopped to look at my own choices. How often do I think (and hear the song in my head) “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen….”? How often do I feel sorry for myself, even if just for a split second?

The truth and wisdom in his words really are powerful. With gratitude….  Gratitude for all our blessings. Gratitude for all the adventures we have taken, the life lessons we have learned, the miracles we have experienced, and the second chances we have been given repeatedly.

Gratitude is a game-changer.

It certainly puts things into perspective. A daily practice of gratitude, whether each morning, afternoon, or evening, really can change how you experience so many things in your life. The contemporary thought that “Life happens for you not to you.” is a perspective that can keep you in gratitude constantly if you let it.

Gratitude doesn’t imply for a second that there aren’t moments of disappointment, rejection, or sadness, only that you will visit those places, not live there since your general state of being is one of gratitude. It can quickly bring things back into perspective and help you recognize that whatever it is, the old “When one door closes another opens.” is a reality. We may not like where that new door leads but it does open. What we choose to do with it is our choice.

The difference between surviving life and living it, frequently rests on the state of gratitude.  “I don’t understand why this happened.” Can cause us to go into victim, powerlessness, and anger. It can also, after initial confusion, dismay, or more, lead us to the joy and freedom of new opportunities, new experiences and new connections.

Both may have truth but excitement, joy, and gratitude for the new, even if unexpected, adventure is so different from experiences of rejection, failure, or powerlessness. As always, the approach is ours to choose.

From that perspective, gratitude not only makes optimism sustainable, it makes it a gift that keeps on giving, in the moment as well as in the long run. Gratitude also frees us from carrying burdens we don’t need or that may not even be ours. In addition, it feeds your energy for health and healing. Gratitude is a spiritual gift. Take it, own it, and make it your way of living this journey. You deserve it and all the optimism that comes with it!


Dr. Dorothy’s life story of coming from an orphanage, being raised in the housing projects of South Boston, becoming a Catholic nun, an international airline stewardess, a wife, mother, graduate faculty member, Clinical Instructor at a Medical School, and so much more provides the perfect backdrop for her message of joy, humor, passion and faith as the necessary tools for life.