From Grief to Gratitude...Giving Thanks
Today is American Thanksgiving. A day to be with those you love and reflect on all that you are thankful for. But, what if you're not feeling all that thankful?
Being in the throws of loss and grief can make it challenging to feel the warm and fuzzies this time of year, and that is totally legitimate. Still, stepping into an attitude of gratitude can be a game changer to address the pain caused by grief. So - let's get to it!
Turning Grief into Gratitude
Grief is the normal and natural emotional reaction to a loss or change of any kind, usually experienced as deep sorrow and other conflicting feelings. Its a time of ups and downs, of highs and lows, when waves come crashing in out of nowhere and it can be hard to catch your breath.
So how the fuck can you be grateful when you're riding a rollercoaster with no end in sight? Well, it ain't easy, but a shift in perspective is a great place to start. When you're dealing with loss your energy is usually focused on whatever it is you no longer have - and all the pain you feel as a result. Its helpful to sit with the feelings and honour the loss, but it can also result in staying stuck.
So, today, as millions of Americans come together to give thanks, it is a prime opportunity to tap into an "Attitude of Gratitude" and focus on what you have. What is working in your life, who is there for you, the roof over your head, the food in your belly, the ability to access eons of info at the tip of your fingers - it may seem trite, but there truly is a lot to be grateful for.
This in no way suggests that you do not have a right to feel sad. Loss fucking sucks and it can rip a hole in your heart that feels like a black hole. But, for a day, an hour, perhaps even just a breath, try to think of a thing or two, no matter how small, that you can be thankful for.
Perhaps its the bed you will stay in all day today, the tv show that somehow manages to make you smile, or the barista at your local cafe who smiled at you this morning. Whatever it is, conjure it up, breathe it in and get grateful.
Lessons from History - The First American Thanksgiving
It is said that America's "first Thanksgiving" was a celebration between pilgrims and Native Americans, in honour of the formidable relationship created from the grace bestowed to early colonists by the Indigenous peoples.
I think this is an important point given all that's going on in America, and the world, today. Tensions are rising high...between party lines, left and right, love and hate. Indigenous people worldwide continue to fight for equal rights and to save resources we all rely on, as exemplified by the water protectors in North Dakota. Sometimes, it can all be too much.
But today, today is a day to be grateful for all that we have and to come together in the spirit of communion and acceptance of all that can be. It is possible to see past our differences, it is possible to choose love over hate, and there is absolutely life beyond loss - no matter its cause.
No matter where you are or what you're going through, find something to be thankful for and step into an attitude of gratitude. For yourself, and for the world. xo R