Right now there are so many messages being thrown out into the world, knowing which one to grasp can be elusive. So I will say, that by practicing gratitude when in pain, hardship, & joy you will find inner solace.
We are all experiencing pain, confusion, & struggle. Yet, we are here for each other. We still have those glimpsed moments of vulnerable joy, the ones that catch our breath. The ones stamped on our hearts of memory, it is time for gratitude.
It is in moments of thankfulness that our humanity returns and our sacrifices will have meaning. Time will pass naturally, don't miss out on your opportunities to practice gratitude.
It is in these moments that our children will remember they are safe and they belong, as you leave a touchpoint on their heart and theirs on yours.
Dr. Brenè Brown speaks to "Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark" in all of her books on shame resilience and authentic living. This particular statement comes from “Gifts of Imperfection” as one of her guideposts for living authentically. It fits so clearly in this time of year especially during the global pandemic and social unrest our society is currently experiencing.
We have forgotten the value of our human connectivity, in that we are “innately wired for connection.”
The recognition of the goodness in our lives allows us to give pause and to recognize that which we have, not what we don't. So much of our society has influenced our belief that we always need something, or to look for what is next, to seek “more.” This leads us to believe we don’t have enough, we are not enough, and that we don’t belong where we are.
Scarcity is a scary human affliction that advertisers and influencers use to have us doubt ourselves, to place thoughts of inferiority and difference as negatives. Falling for scarcity is that gut check that makes us question at the moment, was it enough? What will people think? Where can I hide? Learning to not have scarcity drive your decisions leads to being able to recognize all that you do have- to be thankful.
And then comes the darkness. I don’t think there has been another time where the darkness has been so ever-present in our lives as 2020 and the global pandemic.
Darkness is scary, it is the unknown, it is fear.
While there is much to fear, life is not one of them. When living authentically one learns to recognize that darkness is the other side of light. You can not have light without the dark. This concept is well known in all cultures and visually represented by the Chinese yin-yang. It is knowing that no matter how dark the storm, the sun will shine again. It is in the darkest of times and times of joy, that we have the moments of fear. The belief, the fear it will end, Brown would call these “foreboding joy” moments to which gratitude enables us to hug and recognize those moments for what they are- LIFE.
Living in the moment. Being in the arena. Facing yourself. Facing the doubt. Smiling and saying Thank you. Thank you darkness and joy for showing me the colorful range of emotions that it is to be human. I’m grateful for the opportunity to get to know you and see my truth.
Joy is the most vulnerable of all human emotions- Dr. Brenè Brown
Practicing gratitude invites joy into our lives. It tells us to live for all the moments dark and light. We will weather this storm and live our lives again. If this year has taught anything, it is that the world is ever-changing and if we can see the moments of light in the dark we can have gratitude for the experience.
Encouraging my children to focus on gratitude, to practice it daily, I’m given the opportunity to have a soulful window into what is going on in my kids’ lives. To see what they see, to know what they value, and to know their dark and light.
Our children are living lives we can not fully comprehend, we have no guidance to support or know what tomorrow will bring. And I can ensure, they will practice gratitude to know what they do have, to not live in scarcity and fear. To be willing to grasp those moments of joy.
And to laugh, give thanks, to develop resiliency, to know hard truths, and to be proud of who they are now.