You hear a lot about gratitude at this time of year.
Sometimes gratitude is as easy to access as turning on a faucet of running water. Milestones, celebrations and achievements all make for grateful hearts.
The fact is sometimes gratitude is really hard to come by.
In this perfect storm of a pandemic (and all its terrifying spin offs,) contentiousness just about everywhere (no matter what side you are on politically) on top of the all-too-real challenges of holidays in the midst of the destructive family system illness of substance use disorder, (throw in whatever else is going on for good measure) gratitude can be something you can’t easily turn on like a water faucet.
Time to call a plumber.
The bottom line is having gratitude in the midst of challenges is at best a practice and sometimes it’s as tough a discipline to follow as getting up an extra hour early to go for a run a few miles in a cold, driving rain because you made a commitment to Just Do It.
I’ve never been much of an athlete.
But what life has taught me time and time again is that Just Do Gratitude works because in some unexplainable, even miraculous way, it can elevate our heavy hearts and help us to appreciate the spot we are inhabiting right now.
Gratitude truly can change attitude.
We just need to understand that in the tough times keeping a grateful heart beating requires effort. It’s spiritual exercise.
A huge disclaimer: I don’t have it all together when it comes to being grateful.
I truly wish I did.
But when life demands to be lived in that awful space between a rock and a hard place, I know just as sure as I am breathing that forcing myself to find something to count as a blessing has helped me deal with those granite circumstances.
The practice of keeping a little notebook in a handy place to write down a blessing has been a wonderful way to adjust my focus to see life as half-full instead of half-empty.
Oftentimes these blessings are really small moments in the context of a bigger day.
The scent of coffee in the morning. A flock of geese flying in a V overhead. Pinkly, our Frenchie rescue pooch, snoring in her little bed. Homemade chicken pot pie fresh out of the oven. A “check-in” phone call from a friend. Cozy blankets on a stormy night.
Small moments, indeed.
But when noticed and embraced, small moments add up, and can help break the sadness, anxiety and dark outlook that travel with perfect storm circumstances.
How does gratitude change your attitude?
Do you have a special practice for counting your blessings?
Please share here. We can all be inspired by our collective experience, strength and hope.