Double Take: on Gratitude

A dialogue with ROWENA J RONSON

© Nigel Summerley

NS: “When you get up in the morning, think what a privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love…” These are centuries-old words from the Roman emperor/philosopher Marcus Aurelius. They are often quoted, but what is not always remembered is that Marcus Aurelius did not write any of his “Meditations” to be published or to be read by other people – they were written only as a reminder to himself. And in the midst of the current difficulties, uncertainties and anxieties, do we perhaps need to remind ourselves more than ever to have gratitude for all the wonders of life?

RJR: I am going through an interesting process of focusing in on what I do have. I have noticed that I have been yearning in the past few weeks for things outside of myself – in fact I probably always have – but this time of lockdown has exacerbated that. I woke up this morning feeling, and knowing, how important it is to just focus on what I am – that I AM. And I am so grateful for that. 

NS: Can you give some examples of those yearnings for things “outside of yourself”? And you say that the lockdown increased those yearnings – but has the lockdown also been responsible for this turnaround towards appreciating the inner “essence of you” and the feeling of gratitude for being alive?

RJR: For me it has been about focusing on what I am grateful for – and really feeling into what I am grateful for. I am grateful for my connection with nature. I didn’t take my time being in nature recently for granted, but I am now filled up with gratitude for it. I am also very grateful for my own journey with my health, and that I have always invested time in understanding my health and how I might heal myself naturally. I am very grateful that I have those foundations in myself. 

NS: But has the lockdown assisted with this focusing on what you are grateful for? It seems to me that it must have done. This 12-week “retreat” from how we used to live has given us a jolt – but one that has perhaps helped point us in a new direction.

RJR: It all depends on where we were to begin with. We have written about this before. For those of us close to poverty, it will be difficult to feel any gratitude at this time. And the same goes if we have lost someone close to us. But for those who are able to survive, still put food on the table, and not be under horrendous stress due to any multitude of factors, it is a wonderful time to focus on what we truly are grateful for.

NS: Yes, for those of us in that last category, it has probably made us go into things more deeply – particularly mortality and that immense gratitude for every new day and thus every new chance to be open to change. There really has been time to watch the flowers grow, to watch the trees blossom, to watch the birds drink and eat and go about their daily lives. Surely we should be grateful to be able to observe such miraculous happenings – and to realise that we too are in this miracle. The word “precious” may have had its aura tainted by Tolkien’s Gollum, but every aspect of life is so precious that, when there is awareness of that, there can only be gratitude.

RJR: Not everyone has had the time, I think. I certainly haven’t. I have been busy in my practice six days a week supporting people. What I am grateful for, is that through working with others, and the foundations that I have built within myself, and through many years in practise, in lockdown I have deepened my spiritual connection. And I truly feel the Universe supporting me, supporting others. For that, I am supremely grateful. My precious 🙂 

NS: Hearing that – and knowing that because I personally have had more time (through not being able to be constantly on the move, as I seem to have been in “normal” times) – I have to be grateful for that time (and the space that has come with it). It would be good to think that during the virus crisis many of us have realised – in our individual ways – how much we have to be grateful for.

Rowena J Ronson (pictured above) is a practitioner offering an holistic integration of functional medicine, homeopathy and transformational coaching and

Under the banner of “Double Take”, Rowena and Nigel have been jointly writing columns and dialogues for health journals and websites for the past 15 years.

Kitty Parsons

Kitty Parsons

Kitty is an incomer, with five summers under her belt and the knowledge that even the wettest and greyest of winters have not diminished her love of Pembrokeshire. She knows she will never live long enough to be considered a local but hopes to leave some small mark through writing about this beautiful county and its people.

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