As I reflect on what I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving, I have to admit it has taken a lot of energy to get past “nothing. My Dad is gone.”
My grief has made it really easy for me to fall into negative thought patterns.
I don’t want to feel this way all the time, so I have been putting even more energy into finding gratitude by focusing on some of the positives.
I started doing a gratitude meditation (which I’ll include at the end of this post) at the beginning of the month, already knowing that November would be difficult.
Thanksgiving is our first major holiday without Dad, it’s weird for everyone because of COVID-19, and this was his favorite time of the year because of hunting season.
Knowing how difficult the month would be, I leaned on this meditation to help me begin finding gratitude. I have found it to be the most helpful when I think about my mom, my boyfriend, my best friend, and other important people in my life.
The gratitude meditation was a great starting point, and after hosting a recent YNPN Coffee Power Hour in which the main topic was gratitude and attending a virtual happy hour with the YNPN leadership board, feelings of gratitude have been easier and easier to come by.
As I listened to my YNPN friends share stories about their families, pets, plants, keeping their job/finding a new one in a pandemic, and discovering new ways to stay connected with family and friends, I found that there was a lot to think about.
Here are 10 things that I have been able to find gratitude for:
- While I would have preferred many, many more, I had 27 wonderful years with my Dad.
- I have the support of my mom, my boyfriend, my best friend, and the rest of my friends and family.
- So many of our family friends are more like just family. (AKA Bonus Family, according to Kayleigh)
- I have gotten to know so many wonderful and inspiring people through YNPN.
- I have a stable job that was not disrupted this year, and the ability to work from home.
- I have an adorable cat that brings me a lot of amusement. She still won’t agree to be my Marketing Assistant, but we’re working on it.
- There are so many more ways to stay connected with friends and family now. I was able to “attend” a wedding in another state as it was live-streamed, and I’ll be able to “attend” a baby shower in California for the same reason.
- I have the means to support my local bars, restaurants, and retailers in this new environment, with takeout and delivery.
- This year has allowed me to interact with coworkers and business partners on a more authentic and human level. I haven’t had to hide my grief from anyone to appear more professional. Everyone else is also going through difficult times this year, and we all have the chance to commiserate about things together.
- This blog. Writing these posts allows me to fully express what I am going through, and everyone commenting how the posts help them and/or sharing their own personal experiences motivates me to keep moving forward.
As I think about it, I could probably add even more to this list, but I’ll leave it at 10 things.
It’s amazing to me to even say that, considering how I felt before I started any gratitude meditations or exercises…
What are you able to find gratitude for this year?
- Begin by bringing awareness to your breath, in and out through your nose.
- Identify something or someone that you’re your grateful for.
- Visualize this person or thing in your mind and experience this person or thing with all of your senses: Bring to mind what it, he or she looks like, sounds like, smells like, feels like…
- Reflect on what about this person or thing you are grateful for in your life. How does this person or thing make you feel?
- Repeat with three different people or things in your life.
“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer
“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” – Henry Ward Beecher
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Anonymous
“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” – Amy Collette
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” – Henri Frederic Amiel
“Happiness cannot be traveled to owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley