There have been many articles and books released over the years about Gratitude and the idea that you should DO WHAT YOU LOVE and LOVE WHAT YOU DO. I cannot think of another career where that is more important than in the Arts. Gratitude is the driving force behind success. Success isn't measured in money...it's measured by the joy you have in life.
Every day I wake up now and try to meditate and express gratitude. "I see myself in perfect health. I see myself in absolute prosperity. I see myself invigorated with life...Appreciating, again, this physical experience which I want so very much."
I recently read a book about Michael Jackson, and how he made the hit song THRILLER and literally had it all, but could never be grateful and honor what he had. He was never appreciating "the present moment," as he was always worried about how he was going to get that next great hit. I understand this struggle.
When I won the MET competition in 2000, my life took off at warp speed. I really wasn't ready for it, and looking back maybe I wasn't mature enough to even fully appreciate it. I wish I had been able to take it all in! I was never truly GRATEFUL and APPRECIATIVE for what it was that I had accomplished and how far I had come. This young girl from a small dairy farm in Wisconsin had become a classical singer, moved to New York City, and had just won the MET competition, which was broadcast around the world. I assumed my luck would last forever. However, I didn't know that my agent had Alzheimer's disease and was doing irreparable damage--turning down work on my behalf without even talking to me, or telling conductors I didn't like them, or didn't want to work with them. Nor did I have any idea 9/11 was going to happen, and the US economy would take such a hit. These were a few difficult years for me, until I started to practice true Gratitude.
In 2008 I had the great pleasure of moving to Beijing for a year. It was an incredible year! However, I saw people starve on the streets, or living on a yearly income that was less than my monthly latte bill at Starbucks. It was truly a life changing lesson in Gratitude. The world ebbs and flows, expands and contracts, and is, by it's very nature, somewhat unreliable. If we only feel gratitude when it serves our desires, it's not true thankfulness. No one is exempt from the twists and turns of fate, which may, at any time, take the possessions, situations, and people we love away from us. Ironically, it's often those very moments that serve as wake up calls and remind us how lucky we are to be alive.
Start a gratitude journal today. Every day just write down at least 3 things you are grateful for when you wake up. You will be surprised how this little activity can change your life forever. Even when life is difficult, and times are tough, you can always find something to be grateful for! Each and every day we are alive is a BLESSING!