When Gratitude Is Hard

These are challenging times.

I, like so many of you, have found myself feeling the broadest of feelings, from afraid, to vulnerable, to powerful, to inspired.  And while I know that this is an uncertain time, I also know that there is no way to predict or presume the future.

I find myself struggling with how to remain vigilant in honoring my values and beliefs, while at the same time not allowing fear to drive my thoughts, because as I am so often reminded that thoughts become things, I don’t want my path forward to be determined by thoughts of what I don’t want, but rather by what I do.

This week we will celebrate Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays.  It is a time when we come together as a family and take time to appreciate the many blessings in our lives.

I am fortunate to have two amazing mentors and trusted advisors in my life, two of the most amazing men I have ever met.  They don’t know each other, but over the past month, both of them have asked me about my gratitude practice.

Those of you who know me, know that I am always seeking out the blessing in every experience, good and bad.  I am forever on a relentless pursuit to learn the lessons I am meant to learn, from every opportunity and adversity, it is part of my commitment to growing and expanding, even through the most difficult of times.

But after being faced with the direct question from both of my mentors, I realize that while I seek out ways to appreciate, I don’t really have a reliable gratitude practice or discipline.  And that got me thinking.

I have sometimes struggled with gratitude.  In my work with women, I have found  that so many have used gratitude as a way of convincing themselves not to seek out more of what they truly desire in their lives.  In wanting more pleasure, abundance, love, sex, or anything else that their soul desires, they stop themselves from openly declaring what they want for fear it would mean that they aren’t grateful for and appreciative of what they do have.  And I call bullshit on that.

Yet, at the same time, I am acutely aware of just how important the practice of gratitude is.  In fact, it is the at the core of meaningful success and inspirational leadership.

So, upon the loving encouragement and guidance of these two extraordinary men, I have committed to making the discipline of gratitude a daily practice.

I have already begun taking five minutes every morning, immediately after opening my eyes, to acknowledge at least one thing that I can be grateful for, and allow the feeling of gratitude to sit in my body.

What has been most interesting so far is just how much I am grateful for, so much that I am not necessarily taking the time to appreciate on a regular basis.  So I continue along my gratitude journey, and invite you to join me.

Today I am grateful for my healthy and strong body, in large part thanks to my incredible Tuff Girl family.

I am grateful for my incredible family; my children, parents; and my brother, cousins and all of their children…I am blessed to have such extraordinary people to call my own.

I am grateful for the many experiences, and lessons learned, that I have had over this past year.  It was a year full of loss, transition and growth, and I am a better woman and person because of it all.

I am grateful for the remarkable people that have come into my life, and that inspire, support and love me.

I am grateful for my lovely little beach cottage by the water, the full and exciting life that I lead and my commitment to curiosity.

And I am grateful for you…a community of amazing women and friends that remind me of just how beautiful, strong, courageous and magnificent we all are.  You are my inspiration.

I am blessed beyond measure and look forward to all that unfolds in the coming year.

I recognize that some of you will be coming together with family and friends over Thanksgiving and will be navigating uncomfortable post election emotions and dialogue.  I want to simply encourage you to remember all of the reasons why you love them and work to focus your conversation and intentions on celebrating the love that you share; letting go of the need to debate or educate.  Let this be a time for gratitude, compassion and understanding…if respectful dialogue happens, how wonderful.  If it doesn’t, remember, the time for action can begin again after the holiday. 

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