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To all my wonderful friends and readers, I want to share with you a story I read many, many years ago that highlights how gratitude can be found in any situation no matter how bleak it may appear on the surface.
This story by Dr. Alan Morinis is about Itzhak Perlman. Perlman contracted polio at age four. He did recover from his illness and learned to walk with crutches. Today, he uses both crutches and a scooter for mobility but plays his violin seated.
The story highlights how gratitude can be found in any situation; it all depends on how you look at things.
As the great Wayne Dyer has said, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”
There is a story — maybe an urban legend, but full of truth nonetheless — concerning the famous violinist Itzhak Perlman.
One evening, Perlman was in New York to give a concert.
As a child he had been stricken with polio and getting on stage is no small feat for him. He wears braces on both legs and walks with two crutches. Perlman crossed the stage painfully slowly until he reached the chair in which he seated himself to play.
As soon as he appeared on stage that night, the audience applauded and then waited respectfully as he made his way slowly across the stage. He took his seat, signaled to the conductor, and began to play.
No sooner had he finished the first few bars than one of the strings on his violin snapped with a report like gunshot. At that point, Perlman was close enough to the beginning of the piece that it would have been reasonable to bring the concert to a halt while he replaced the string to begin again.
But that’s not what he did. He waited a moment and then signaled the conductor to pick up just where they had left off. Perlman now had only three strings with which to play his soloist part. He was able to find some of the missing notes on adjoining strings, but where that wasn’t possible, he had to rearrange the music on the spot in his head so that it all still held together.
He played with passion and artistry, spontaneously rearranging the symphony right through to the end. When he finally rested his bow, the audience sat for a moment in stunned silence. And then they rose to their feet and cheered wildly. They knew they had been witness to an extraordinary display of human skill and ingenuity.
Perlman raised his bow to signal for quiet. “You know,” he said, “sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much beautiful music you can still make with what you have left.”
We have to wonder, was he speaking of his violin strings or his crippled body? And is it true only for artists?
We are all lacking something, and so we are all challenged to answer the question: Do we have the attitude of making something of beauty out of what we do have, incomplete as it may be?
Here’s what I think…
The Power of Gratitude In Our Lives
When we are open to gratitude, we see clearly and perfectly how much good, there is in our life. Gratitude affirms that very fact.
We will always be faced with challenges in our lives. Life provides the ebb and the flow no matter how much we try to resist it. There is no limit to what we don’t have, and if we focus on the lack in our lives, we will inevitably be filled with an abundant amount of pain and dissatisfaction. But when we can look at our lives, businesses, and family situations with a focus on what is right, we experience gratitude.
Like other attitudes, gratitude can be cultivated. We don’t have to wait for our fairy godmother to shower us with presents to feel thankful. We can develop gratitude by reflecting on the gifts that we already have. Gratitude is the memory of our own heart I once heard someone say. It is, therefore, an expression of love and abiding friendship which transforms itself into deed.
I try to cultivate gratitude every day and when I feel it – when I am grateful for my body and mind, for the world in which I live, for my family and friends, for my business – I know that my spiritual path is in order. When I don’t feel it, I understand that I am off, and I try to right myself.
Gratitude is profound – it takes us to the edge and beyond.
I’m so very grateful to you, my wonderful readers. Thank you so much for visiting with me each day. I look forward to continuing to serve you through my writing and hope to provide you exactly what you need when you need it the most.
Abundant blessings to you and wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.