I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately. As a writer, I’m grateful I have a flexible schedule, a comfortable place to sit and create and decent computer equipment. That wasn’t always true. Being grateful was something I resisted or struggled to feel.
Remember (especially if you’re a boomer) your parents telling you about the starving kids in other countries as you crossed your arms, refusing to eat those stewed peas or something else you considered too gross to chew? As a child, I had everything I needed, loving parents, a nice home, regular meals. Still, I was often jealous of the other kids latest clothes or what they had in their lunchbox. Gratitude is hard to grasp when you’re just discovering that some people have more than others and not everything is fair.
As a young adult, life was difficult and it seemed like everyone else was better off, happier. A divorce freed me from a bad marriage. I unexpectedly fell in love with a close friend, realized I was gay and came out. Things improved, but still there was a nagging voice in the back of my head telling me life was tough, there was never enough
Then the unthinkable happened–two friends were shot and killed in their restaurant in the East Bay. It turned my world upside-down. Desperate to find a way through the grief, I sought out emotional and spiritual support. I found it in a spiritual group (not traditional religion) and classes seeking to reach a deeper level of personal awareness. Part of that practice was meditation and a Gratitude Journal.
Appreciate how rare and wonderful your situation is in this world, then take joy in it and use it to your best advantage.Dali Lama
As I made my way though the grief process and let myself open to a new way of seeing things, my gratitude meter became laser. The realization that our lives could be over any moment made even the simplest things (waking up, drinking a cup of tea, listening to music) a thing to cherish.
In no way am I making light of other people’s challenges. It can be hard to find even a single thing to be grateful for in the midst of personal tragedy and loss. Everyone has to find their own way towards healing.
What I do want to share is the knowledge that things can get better, especially if you open up to the simple things that often get overlooked. If you’re new to affirmations or simply needing a reminder, please accept this gift of my latest publication, A Prelude to Gratitude (the download link is just below the book cover above). It’s a simple, week-long practice to help refocus on being grateful.
Other Gratitude Resources:
What I’m Reading:
Cozy – The Art of Arranging Yourself in the World by Isabel Gillies
Cozy is a great study in expanding our ideas about what it means to create ‘cozy’ in our lives. You could also substitute the words ‘secure’ or ‘comfortable.’
Would you ever have imagined pencils to be cozy, or rivers or social media? Well, they are (or at least they can be).
At a time where we’re all recovering form a very stressful time (due to Covid and politics), this books is a delightful and surprising look at how we can expand our comfort (coziness) in the world.
I really appreciated all the reminders about the simple and sometimes obscure things I do unconsciously to make myself cozy in the world.