February 10, 2019

Laughing at life (even when it’s tough)

I was clutching my stomach.
I was coughing and wheezing.
I could hardly breathe.
I was staggering as if i was drunk.

I couldn’t help it.
The need to laugh came over me like the relentless waves throwing themselves at the sand, just a few feet away.

No matter what we seemed to say to each other…
Everything seemed more and more hilarious.

Here we were.
The six of us. Three couples. Parents and Grandparents all.
Couples who have worked together, served together, sacrificed together, laughed (and cried) together.
In a questionably-4-star hotel south of Barcelona.
Surrounded by the uglier signs of industry, looming far too close to our resort.

And from morning until night…
We laughed.
And loved being together in our madness.

Each year we go away together.
Usually, we relax in a cool, spacious villa, somewhere in Greece or Cyprus.
But this time – because of my mercurial family timetable – we’d drawn a short straw.

We could have been miserable at the sight of our package-holiday surroundings.
But our love of being together made everything else seem somewhat irrelevant.

In the evenings, we would stroll along a seafront, chatting or silent.
Sighing at the balmy temperature, the clear sky, the delicious moon.

And one of us would start mentioning how ridiculously fortunate, lucky or blessed we were.
We rejoiced in our circumstances.
We spoke aloud our gratitude.

As we each considered, and shared, a little more of our less-than-comfortable childhoods.
As we recalled the courage and fighting spirit of our parents and grandparents of yesterday…
We looked at each other together, today… enjoying such peace and luxury…
And it all seemed – and seems – a miracle.

And we were openly grateful for that miracle.

There is something powerfully healing about Gratitude.

At home, in business, it minimises the seemingly insuperable trials and tribulations of the day.
It shrinks them to the trivia that most of them are. Mere irritations. Frustrations of our expectations.
It allows us to rise to loftier thoughts, feelings and actions.
It allows us to direct our attention to the Critical Few aspects of our life.

I’m so grateful that my children don’t have to walk two miles each day to fetch dirty water to drink.
I’m so grateful that, when I open my front door, the road is still in one piece: not blown apart by mortars last night.
I’m so grateful that my family can travel where they like, when they like… mixing with whom they like, how they like.

I’m grateful that I’m one of the 4% of start-up businesses in the UK, that lasts longer than five years.
I’m grateful that clients trust me with their future; that colleagues trust me with their hopes and well-being.
I’m grateful for the mass of opportunity and possibility spread before me, at the touch of a keyboard.

Most of all, I’m grateful to know what it is to love. And to be loved.

In my strivings and wrestlings and accomplishings today…
I hope that this sense of Gratitude pervades all that I say and do.

And I hope that, in the coming week, you enjoy that same influence – the power of Gratitude – in your business.