Having an attitude of gratitude
Like many of you out there, I have been regrouping after the results of the recent election.
I had originally planned to write a blog post this week about Thanksgiving foods, yummy recipes and how to stay on track through the holiday season but given the last couple of weeks that feels a little hollow to me at the moment.
To say the election didn't go the way I had hoped or believed that it would is an understatement, but this is way beyond being a "sore loser". I have genuine fears about the protection of our civil and human rights and the future of our environment, and based on what was said by the candidate who won, I feel that I have every right to be concerned.
However - whether or not I let those fears paralyze me is not on him or anyone else. It's entirely on me. And I refuse to let this paralyze me. In fact, I am determined to have it do the opposite. I intend to be propelled into action and advocacy.
That said, it is still Thanksgiving which is my very favorite holiday. In getting back to the business of living my life these past couple of weeks, the practice of gratitude has been a very effective tool for moving out of the fear of an unknown future and into the present moment where all things are possible.
So, in the spirit of giving thanks I'd like to share with you my current gratitude list.
This is adapted from a Facebook post I wrote the day after the election but I have since changed and added a few things to the list.
I am grateful for my virtual community and that includes all of you. Thank you for letting me into your inboxes and reading what I write, for being in my social media space and for letting me into yours. While Facebook can occasionally be a rabbit hole of procrastination for me, I love being connected to all of you and to the people and communities I've been a part of throughout my life - even if it's through the internet and not in person. This has been especially powerful in the past few weeks and I imagine it will continue to be powerful in the weeks and months ahead.
I am grateful for my actual community, Seattle, a place that is several thousand miles from where I started out in my life but where I'm so happy I ended up. There's no place else I'd rather be in the world right now than this city, with these people. Communities hold each other up and I feel very held here.
I am grateful for my deep and abiding belief that no matter what is to come, good will always prevail. We are in the midst of a collective transformation. It will be difficult. Lives will be changed. But I truly believe that in the end we will all be OK.
I am grateful for music, film and art of every kind. I'm looking forward to what will emerge in the next 4 years. Go ahead and try to suppress us or take away our rights. We will come back stronger than ever. Just watch.
I am grateful that my kids can spend the majority of the next 4 years on a college campus - one of the best places to be in times of great change. And I am really grateful that they both want to be "part of the solution" as my 18 year-old told me the other day.
I am grateful for and encouraged by fact that the 18-25 year-old population overwhelmingly did NOT cast their vote against women, minorities, the environment, the disabled or a woman's right to choose. They are the real future of this country.
I am grateful for my white privilege. I am a white person in America in the 21st century. This automatically gives me an advantage in certain situations. I vow not to take that for granted - especially now.
I am grateful for my health and the health of my family. Without going into too much detail, this year has been a little bit of an ass-kicker for us. But all things considered we are just fine, although I won't be sad to see the back of 2016.
And finally, I am grateful for all the little things that add up to joy and contentment: a great cup of coffee, doing the NY Times crossword, being able to walk to and around Greenlake every day, conversations with my friends, chocolate (!), my book club, hot showers, the collard greens that are still growing in my backyard and quiet Sunday mornings.
Whether or not you are struggling right now for any reason, I invite you to make a gratitude list of your own. Having an attitude of gratitude will not only help root you into the present (where you are safe and well in the moment), it will also leave you feeling very rich and abundant indeed.