Playing in the “And” Space: A Gratitude Practice

GratitudeI hope you all have had the opportunity to utilize some of the wonderful resources that become available this time of year around developing a gratitude practice. I find that, even in the most difficult of times, a gratitude practice can be a great comfort and can really uplift my spirit.

Today, I received Chelsea Dinsmore’s post on cultivating a gratitude practice. She shares many thought-provoking questions and provides some other guidance that I think you’ll find helpful.

Chelsea also shared this reflection, which you may have seen elsewhere. It can be a wonderful way to reframe some of life’s challenges:

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.

~ Author Unknown ~

I know for some of us this approach feels like we’re forcing positivity onto things that just aren’t. “I don’t need to be thankful for the difficult times. Sure I may grow from them but there are other things I’ll share my gratitude with.”

If this is how you feel, my heart is with you as we move through difficult times with grace and strength. And with deepest compassion I offer you the following:

Thanksgiving the Good AND the Bad

I feel grief
And yet, I’m thankful
For friends and flowers

I see oppression
And yet, I’m thankful
For a voice to speak truth and to try
To make things better

I see injustice
And yet, I’m thankful
For striving and action to bring balance to this world

I face violence
And yet, I’m thankful
For brave warriors, first responders, and those who practice peace

I feel pain
And yet, I’m thankful
For breath, for life, for love

I lose hope
And yet, I’m thankful
For all I have

~ Janice Lodato

Sending love and light to all of you this holiday and always. May you feel the encompassing compassion of the universe as you live in your “and” space.