How do we practice gratitude when we ache? When things are tough? Why is it important to practice a life of gratitude?
I recently spoke about a few daily changes I made in the wake of my husband’s passing that gave me new meaning and opened the door for heartache and gratitude to live in the same home. This awareness came as I sat in a windowless police station the day my husband was killed. Shock and uncertainty thickened the air (and my soul) but I was driven by love and gratitude.
It’s easy to be grateful if you win the lottery. The real practice of gratitude is when you’ve seemingly lost it all and you suddenly start the search for what’s left. A hot shower, a roof, drinking water…
I believe in writing and journaling. It is a great way to unload your mind and be able to look back, reflect and revisit where you once were. It creates space. After Iggy died, I was so overloaded with practical tasks that adding a gratitude journal was out of the question. I barely had the emotional energy to check in with myself between the responsibilities that come with being a widow.
Start small. Nobody is expecting you to be a double rainbow. If they do, create distance. You are allowed to feel like you are drowning and question everything you thought you knew about life. Finding little things to be grateful for gave me power and a sense of control over my own life. That power reminded me that I could swim when I started to take on water. Each day I practice being grateful for something – anything. My morning coffee or a good conversation.
Swimming in the current = Practicing gratitude.
Each time I practiced gratitude for the simplest things – I was forced to live in the present. Gratitude, being present and simplicity are the 3 greatest catalysts to my healing. Each one leads to the other. A powerful trifecta that creates ease.
Just start small. Gratitude doesn’t erase your grief – it just helps you look through it.
“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.” – Rumi