Create: A practice of Radical Gratitude

About a month ago, I received a series of bad news in the course of just a few days. The last piece came as I was on my way home from dropping my son at school on a Tuesday morning. I felt incredibly sad, tons of fear, and really lonely. I knew participating in my scheduled business call that morning would only be a performance so I cancelled, and while driving home I considered my options for the day.

I felt so overwhelmed by the circumstances and all my feelings, the only option I could see was to go home and get back in bed. Which is very much doing something different for me, since I usually try hard and power through, no matter what.

After a good sob, I realized how tired my body was on top of the feeling storm, so I thought a nap would be another step of self care. It was 9:30 in the morning.

I slept for three hours and as I was drifting off I had an idea that ended up being so helpful I hope you’ll find a way to put it into practice.

Radical gratitude.

I wondered what it would be like to make a gratitude entry with all the hard, overwhelming, scary and uncertain things in my life that day. Usually I write the beautiful, compelling, and miraculous when I record gratitude, but late that afternoon I grabbed some colored pens, a glass of wine, some essential oils and turned some music on. I began putting all the hard stuff on paper.

My mom dying last October. Two kids with broken bones. Financial insecurity. Family dysfunction. Chronic illness. Always feeling behind. I kept adding to the list and then I drew lines between the entries. Towards the end I got out my watercolors and amazingly as I worked, I felt reconnected to myself.

Then this:

I saw all the things I never wished for, as stepping stones to circumstances and events that have brought great healing and joy into my life.

It was just a second, maybe two, but I really felt how the web of my life is beautifully intertwined. I knew in my heart that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and that everything really is working out for me.

Not a single circumstance changed, but I did.

That Tuesday, I chose to stay with my feelings, and to try something different. While It wasn’t a quick fix, I did get to experience something different in my heart and in my life.  I was thumbing through that journal the other day, and you know what I felt as I passed my Radical Gratitude page? The same gladness and spacious trust I had when I created it.  




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