on discovering the power of gratitude

About eleven years ago…

I had been seeing a chiropractor who practices applied kinesiology (AK) for more than a year, and I loved that my body and mind had embraced this process for healing and growth. For those of you who are not familiar, AK (sometimes called Body Talk) practitioners initiate a dialogue with the body’s energy, using the arm as a lever, to diagnose and identify optimal treatment.

Over the past many months, I had experienced better adrenal function, detoxified my liver and kidneys, nearly eliminated symptoms of PMS and more. Then, as I lay on my back with arm held straight in the air, I heard, “You are experiencing lack in your ovaries, and your body is asking for a lifestyle change.”

Crap! Was I about to be asked to stop drinking?

Continuing to use my arm as a lever to determine how my body wanted to heal, we learned that the lifestyle change related to money. So my chiropractor asked me to tell him what was going on with money in my life.

At the time, I lived in a rental duplex, owned two cars, had no revolving debt and lived as well or better than many of the friends I knew. Still, I had certain ideas about my situation, which I expressed something like this:

  • I felt as though I was living check to check, yet I was putting $400 per month into an investment account and could easily lower that amount if I needed more accessible cash.
  • I was renting, and the real estate market was climbing rapidly. By not owning property, I believed I was missing out on an investment growth opportunity, equity in a home.
  • Owning two cars seemed ridiculous. I loved them both, but had no storage for the impractical sports car that needed extra love and care.

However, when we tried my arm as a lever on solutions to any of the above — free up cash, buy a home, sell a car — none worked. My chiropractor had a few suggestions of his own. My body responded to “practice gratitude consciousness.”

I was thus assigned the homework of practicing gratitude for an hour each day. When I awoke each morning, I was to choose a time, randomizing my sessions, so that I didn’t make a habit of defaulting to a time of day when I was naturally more inclined to feel good. And then I was to think about what I was grateful for during the specified time.

I began with what I thought would be easy — my new car. I had recently purchased a luxury car with leather seats, a great stereo, moon roof, etc. For months, every time I got in my car, I thanked myself. So it was a huge surprise to hear a little argument go on in my head:

“I love my car. I’m so grateful that I allowed myself to have something so nice!”

“Yeah, but all my friends drive BMWs.”

“My car drives even nicer than their BMWs.”

“Still, BMWs have more prestige…”

Observing my own back talk was a revelation to me, and it took a conscious effort to quiet the voice of dissent inside.

Another observation was that I hated paying bills — internet, phone, insurance, rent… But I was practicing gratitude, so I had to develop a new way of thinking about them. I learned to bless each bill as I received and paid it, thinking about how grateful I was to be blessed with whatever each bill represented. I didn’t grow up with internet service — and it was a wonderful new way to stay connected with friends around the world; I wore beautiful designer clothing, so I could easily be grateful for my department store credit card bill, and so on… Bills became friendly reminders of my abundant life.

A month passed and I was back in my chiropractor’s office. “How did it go?” he asked about my homework.

I chuckled hesitantly:  “I’m not sure I did very well at it.”


“Well, it was difficult to maintain for an hour — I experienced a lot of back talk.”

“You didn’t think you had to list things for an hour, did you?”

“No, but I thought that I should be able to just feel gratitude, and then ride the wave of that great feeling for longer than I was able to sustain it.”

My body no longer requested the practice, but I tried to keep it up in my daily life. It brought about a nice feeling of contentment. But the astounding part of this story is what and how quickly other intentions manifested in my life:

  • I continued to contribute to my investment account, and was able to release the check-to-check feeling.
  • Within six weeks, I had sold my sports car for more than I’d paid for it.
  • Within three months, I had bought and moved into a condo in a great neighborhood.
  • And, finally, you’ll recall that the issue my gratitude practice was to resolve was a feeling of lack in my ovaries. Approximately six months later, I was pregnant with my first child!

It’s been a challenge to feel grateful for much of these past couple of years, and I’m happy to have the practice back into my life!

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