Let’s talk about what we’re grateful for. I invite you to do this with me because it has helped me breathe through the incomprehensible tragedies occurring throughout the country. The election is looming on the closer-than-we-think horizon. And people are dying and kids are terrified and people who are experiencing homelessness are being treated like they don’t matter. Yes, this moment is real. Yes, this moment is happening.
Take a break for a moment. Create a space for yourself to exist without the weight of confusing pain on your chest. For one second (couple of seconds… like 30 seconds tops if you don’t want to do longer than that). Walk into a place of gratitude. We don’t walk intentionally toward gratitude in an attempt to escape the shitty reality stuff forever. We intentionally walk toward gratitude so that we can return to the shitty reality stuff with a bit more of a light, with a bit more hope/joy/acceptance/whatever comforts you. By practicing grateful awareness regularly, what did seem unbearable becomes potentially tolerable.
Come here, to this moment, in a meaningful way. Invite gratitude to the center. Inhale deeply. Now exhale all at once, letting out a big sigh. Sigh with your whole body, relax as the fear releases you.
A mass shooting is generally thought to include at least four or more random people killed for no reason. We’ll sigh again in a second. In 2019 there have been over 250 mass shootings. So, things are not awesome. Life is a deep breath followed by moments that take our breath away.
Now exhale all at once, letting out a big sigh. Sigh with your whole body, relax as the fear releases you.
Life is finding breath in moments of loss. There is light everywhere, even when we cannot see it. Breathe through it. This is real. And look at you, still breathing. Keep breathing. Open your eyes when you’re ready. Breathe. Learn.
Every big inhale and moment of presence strengthens our ability to navigate the chaos with curiosity and patience. So, can we be grateful for a moment? Even half of a moment - half your brain on your breath and half your brain on what’s going to happen next.
What are you grateful for, my dear? Fill out this printable worksheet/check it out below and fill it out in your head.
There’s a lot of weird shit going on and I think it’s important to hold a space for that angst/ heartbreak/ confusion/ fury/ whatever you feel about all of the negative words/acts/feelings you encounter. Sit with the fear. Let your gratitude sit there, too. Gratitude doesn’t need to cancel out fear. That’s not what gratitude is here to do. It’s here to remind us that fear needs love, too. Fear is the ocean, gratitude is the lighthouse. Here you are, in the ocean. No immediate escape. There’s the light. Wait. There it is. Breathe. Here it is. Fill this out for thirty days (or check it out below). Or fill it out for one day. Or no days. Whatever is cool with you. Also edit it to your liking.
Do this (or something involving gratitude) for any amount of time, every day. The more we practice gratitude, the more grateful we feel.
and now a little note about my book
If You’re Freaking Out, Read This is available for pre-order now. On bookshelves in January 2020. Please don’t order it from amazon. Get it on a sliding scale and support and independent publisher at the same time. Grab some stickers and hoodies while you’re at it.
I’m putting this workbook out there because my feeling of “I must do it,” outweighs the thought, “I can’t do it” every single dang time. Let’s get weird. Let’s get grateful. Let’s stick around and see what happens during this incredible, insignificantly meaningful, significantly meaningless, beautiful life.
Other cool things from Microcosm Publishing:
From Chaos to Creativity Workbook: Building a Productivity System for Artists and Writers
Wellmania: Extreme Misadventures in the Search for Wellness
Unfuck Your Anger: Using Science to Understand Frustration, Rage, and Forgiveness
The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity