Storms will always be a part of life. There isn’t any way to avoid them. We pray they will pass quickly, but we are at their mercy. How do we ride out the inevitable storms? What strategies can we use to weather them with less damage? How do we come through the season of bad weather stronger and more resilient?
For me, the answer is practicing gratitude.
There are times when the clouds are dark and thick. The air is heavy and weighs us down. The darkness blocks out the sun. Is the sun still there? We may have been in the dark for so long that we forget how it feels and looks. The more we can find gratitude in anything during the storm, the more we are reminded of the warmth and comfort of the sun. As our gratitude expands, we can rise above the storm and maybe get a glimpse of the sun. Gratitude can cut through the darkness. Gratitude is powerful.
The past few months have been stormy. When I become confident the storm will pass, it dumps more rain and wind. The strategy I am using to cut through the turbulence is gratitude. This week I have decided to go all in on GRATITUDE. Well, gratitude from A to Z to be exact! (Thanks Chris Palmore for sharing this gratitude tool.) I am pretty sure this hefty lift will have me feeling a little lighter once it is completed.
- A- Aunts: We all have one that made life better at some point (blood or honorary)
- B- Ben my four-legged Boo
- C- Caregivers: All those who have supported my family and others in the past and future
- D- Daughter: Emily has given me more than I could ever give you
- E- Energy (Everything is energy)
- F- Files (for nails, projects, records…any file is fine)
- G- Gravy (biscuits and gravy on a cold Sunday morning..YUM)
- H- Home and Heart (where family, love, and connection reside)
- I- Injections (the ones that save lives from the flu, illness, and cancer)
- J- Justin (of course)
- K- Kindness (given or received it’s pretty cool, and it’s FREE)
- L- Laughter. Love. Life. Learning.
- M- Music and Meditation (I couldn’t pick one)
- N- Novels and EQUALLY Noise-Cancelling Headphones
- O- Opera (memories of my mom, Pat)
- P- Pats (all the Pats: My mom Pat, Patt my second mom, Patty my boss, my dear friend Patti)
- Q- Quiet (Something that brings me JOY)
- R- Rest and Respite
- S- Smiles
- T- Time
- U- Utilities: electricity, gas, water, internet, cell phone
- V- Van because it provides Emily a way to explore and takes us on adventures.
- W- Wipes…My life has lots of messes, and wipes make clean-up easier.
- X- Xanax (Not for me. I am grateful this tool helps with Emily’s anxiety, if only a bit)
- Y- You: Each of you read what I write. You share your struggles and joys. You make a difference in my life.
- Z- Zebras: The official symbol for rare disease in the United States. (Show your stripes for rare)
Traveling with gratitude by my side has helped me survive the darkest storms. I feel a little lighter when I remind myself of something I am grateful for having in my life. It forces me to look beyond the immediate challenges and struggles. Gratitude gives me perspective, clarity, and hope.
This exhaustive list definitely boosted my spirits. I hope something on the list lifts your spirit or brings a smile to your face. If you are new to practicing gratitude, it may seem silly, futile, or too difficult, but give it some time. Try making a short list. (Baby steps.) Keep practicing because the more you practice gratitude, the better you get at it. One day, it may become the best tool to add a little sunshine and warmth to your cold, dark days.