As we approach Thanksgiving and the holiday season in the US, one of the things that gets tossed around is Gratitude. The Big G.
If you weren’t feeling that grateful, or even worse, were feeling whiny and self-deprecating, this is the week and the season to just snap out of it!
This is the season for good tidings, well wishes, thoughts, prayers, and plain ol’ cheer, right?
Don’t get me wrong; I love the concept of cultivating gratitude. There is an intense and dark beauty in being a witness to and feeling appreciation for the ride-or-die friendships or miraculous children that we are even alive to experience. In fact, this practice and experience of positivity has true impact on our health.
And sometimes…we say a lot of things and don’t feel them. We don’t witness and experience them. Is that gratitude? Or platitude?
Does it matter?
I have a not-so-small request this week and this season: say what you feel. It’s easy for us to get caught up in “I love my kids-house-car-job-husband” like we are in competition for how #blessed we are.
Before you get caught up in gratitude guerilla warfare, stop and feel. Rather than being grateful, consider what allows you to feel gratitude. It’s a subtle but different experience. More physical or kinesthetic than intellectual. Something that feels like peace or joy. (And maybe there is a better word than ‘gratitude’)
When I sit and really allow myself to feel gratitude, here is my list of what washes up (in no particular order):
- My son: he is the greatest thing I have ever done and will ever do with my life. He is everything I could have ever imagined in a human being. His presence and his countenance has allowed my heart to be wide and strong enough for all of the turmoil, loss, and grief that has absorbed these last few years of our lives.
- My family: my family is the fortress-like foundation that I was able to jump up and stomp on to make my way in this life. What is most astounding to me about my family is their ability to pivot, start over, and crush it on the next thing. Grit and resilience are our keystones.
- My framily: this unlikely group of people sat down together at cafeteria tables 15 years ago and have never really been apart since. Not even with death or geography. Some beautiful thread wove us together and I will never stop being mesmerized by how random and powerful this life is because of it.
- My other half: After 19 years, I can honestly say, I have no idea what relationships ‘should’ be. It has been all the things; and really the only way I could have made it out alive and well. I am thriving, not just surviving, because of this human. That’s his magic.
- Michelle: watching her wrestle with her life, her dying, the guilt, the grief, and the deep, eviscerating sadness flipped a switch in me. She gave us the gift of allowing us to be part of it all, to allow it to change us as it changed her, and to keep her alive with us as we speak her name.
What washes over you when you feel gratitude? #gratitudenotplatitude #tellthem