Thank-Full: The Skill of Gratitude
This is not just a post about paying gratitude and wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving-- while I will do that here as well, the series of events that happened over the past 36 hours made me think about gratitude in a deeper way.
What does it even all mean anymore?
The word, "gratitude," is thrown around so often nowadays in this age during which people are realizing more and more how integral our mental health + mindset is to our quality of life. But the concept of what it means to live with gratitude and having an active practice of gratitude tends to get a little muddled up along the way. And sometimes the way we describe it can feel... redundant is the wrong word, but it's almost obvious and a given: "I am grateful for my loved ones, my health, my comfort and safety" or appreciating a beautiful day outside, kind strangers, etc.
But those little affirmations of a gratitude mindset REALLY mean something in the end. It adds up, because ultimately what you're doing is practicing gratitude and refining that automatic mindset of abundance. And that skill? That is something you'll be unbelievably glad you have when it comes to the days where everything in the world goes to shit and how you react and move forward determines your trajectory forward.
After all, of course it's easy to feel all warm and fuzzy about the world and be grateful when the winds of fortune are blowing in your direction. But what about when you're climbing uphill and everything seems to be working against you?
I have a lil story about yesterday for you that I promise leads to my point.
I had a pretty spectacularly awful day yesterday. I won't even list all the dumb little things that went wrong all day because it would be a long list and I don't really want to spend time whining about it. But then it just absolutely started reaching a peak when I got home to discover a gargantuan problem that occurred and we are still crisis-managing right now. Let's just say that during this entire process of creating this product, there literally has not been a single step in the process that has not had a rather significant issue. NOTHING has gone smoothly. Not even close. That is just the nature of entrepreneurship-- you just keep pushing forward and figure out how to make it work. But yeah, this issue that happened yesterday is a bit of a nightmare and I will now be spending a significant amount of time over the next few weeks cleaning up someone else's mess that is now my responsibility because that is what happens when you're the boss. For context's sake, my #1 most hated thing in the world (aside from the obvious like cruelty, etc) is wasting time and inefficiency. So this kind of stuff makes me feel hot like an oven and not in a good way.
Anyway, dealing with that left me 8 minutes to get to the post office before it closed for the holiday. As I was sprinting with an Ikea bag full of 40+ boxes towards my uber, I completely ate it by tripping in a hole on the road. It was one of those epic slow-mo movie falls where I tried catching myself several times but that just propelled me forward harder, boxes were flying in the air like confetti, I was airborne like a flying seal on ice, and I now am about 99.9% sure I severely sprained my foot from all this. Peak reached. But at least I somehow made it to the post office? 😂
Chain of thoughts
After completing that task, my brain was digesting all of what happened in the span of 3 hours. Tears of frustration were spilling over and I stopped by my mom's house on my way home. I talked it out with her. And something my mom has done ever since I was younger that used to drive me nuts, is to remind me to be grateful its not worse. I used to despise her saying that because it felt like she was trying to minimize my feelings about the given situation.
But as I told her everything that had happened, I noticed something different in how I felt and where my mind was going. I was still pissed about this giant mistake, but there was also a part of me that deeply still felt almost eerily calm about it all. Then as I was talking about how I planned to resolve the issue, my brain started thinking about how happy and lucky I was that I got to be sitting there with my mom to talk about this with her. Then I started thinking about how grateful I am that she has moved close by; then about how grateful I was that the next day was Thanksgiving and I had a day to gather my thoughts; then about how thankful I was to have trust in my capabilities to resolve this situation; then about how I was so thankful that I would get to go home, turn on my diffuser to unwind (LOL serious essential oil junkie) and curl up in my clean and cozy bed in a home I love.
That was actually the exact chain of thoughts, and it happened without any catalyst. I even surprised myself and almost was almost a bit concerned with myself why I wasn't freaking out more over a pretty serious problem. After reflecting for awhile on it last night, I realized a few things.
The Skill of Gratitude and a Mindset of Abundance
When your depth and capacity for pain, loss, and devastation are expanded due to those life events that make permanent dents on your heart like loss of a loved one, your scale for how you perceive things change. After the process of losing my dad last year, the things that I used to think were a 10 on a scale of 1-10 in terms of frustrating, painful, or overwhelming? They're a dull and manageable 5 now.
This is not to minimize those absolutely awful days-- it's just a different category of impact. Of course yesterday I felt like screaming about a dozen times and a boxing class would have been quite welcome, but there was still a small part me that anchored me in the immediate moment of anger/sadness/frustration. And we all do have that within us.
It's the part of you that knows it's not the end of the world and you'll be okay, because there are so many worse things in the world that exist.
It's the part that feels grateful that it's not worse.
It's the part that makes you run towards the things you are grateful for to ground you.
It's the part of you that manages to keep perspective.
That little anchored part of you wins above all, even above what may be some immediate external drama queen behavior of a flip out. Hey, sometimes you just need to throw a tantrum and that is totally okay + healthy as long as you aren't taking it out on someone else!
My point here being is that I really believe that this can be traced back to the practice and honed skill of a mindset of gratitude and abundance. Life and people can take certain things away from you, and a lot of that is out of your control; but something no one can take from you if you don't let them? A grateful heart and mindset of abundance. And you're more easily able to jump into that mindset when shit hits the fan, when you've been cultivating gratitude through all the little day-to-day things. Your mind and perspective are a reflection of what you feed it daily: so let us all feed it with that kind of goodness.
Thanksgiving is a bit of an odd holiday for me now that I'm still figuring out. We used to celebrate my dad's birthday on Thanksgiving because it was close to his birthday, and I had cooked our family's Thanksgiving meal since I was 19-- it was something I looked forward to every year. So things look a bit different now.
But I feel that much more thankful to be spending the day with my momma. And I'm certainly so grateful for all the incredible things that have happened this year so far, and this path that I am on. I spoke on receptiveness and abundance on my Instagram last week, and it's truly the way I feel about all the new people, old people, and continued path that I am on right now. I think the word "thankful" is so apt to the way I feel right now, because I do feel so full of thanks.
And I'd like to take a moment here to say a big thank you to you, my readers. Thanks for letting me share my life and thoughts the way I do and am able to because of you, and for sharing with me right back. So grateful for each and every one of you! Hope you all are having the best Thanksgiving and spending time with loved ones whether it be blood family or chosen family❤️