How To Reconnect with Gratitude this Winter
Wintertime is here in the northern hemisphere, and specifically in the Great White North, can be reminiscent of a snow globe.
If you are fortunate to be inside a warm home snuggled up in blankets and not having to do any shovelling, what is there to complain about? Other than a global pandemic, the bitter cold, and icy road conditions (when driving only essentially?) Amidst the global changes in 2020, it can be hard at times to find gratitude. Pre-existing stressors we have likely have been amplified, coinciding with world issues brought fully into the light. Arguably 2020 was a much needed year to slow down and reflect on how we operate in our day-to-day existence. How are you exhibiting kindness to yourself and others, and how are you not? The impact we have may seem small, but comprehending the good and bad we have done over the years likely got you to your current positioning. So how do you feel? What do you think of yourself and the state of the world?
Life is about finding the balance between the polarities. Inner peace comes from the acceptance of walking the middle path. If you have found it challenging in 2020 to find or keep work, spent too much or too little time with loved ones, or navigating your way through the fear-mongering and conspiracies surrounding COVID, the gratitude likely has been like a boat in choppy waters. It has been an era of extremes. It is the human condition to seek external validation, and we yearn for that knowing with tangible proof in our realities. But in this time of COVID, uncertainty has become the main theme for which we need to find our footing and walk that middle path. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom I have come to appreciate this past year and will take with me through the winter months. With an attitude of gratitude, even for the hard times, we will find our way.
Choose to Thrive over Surviving
In 2020 I saw both the gain and loss of multiple jobs, some of which were my perceived dream come true. Other work turned out to be surprisingly cathartic and wonderfully lovable. The ‘dream jobs’ were going to be my long-awaited momentum forward in the external world aka ‘validation.’ I have, for lack of a better term, hustled for years with consistent financial failure and repeated disappointment in the way people treat each other. But this year, I learned the art of the pivot. Well, I suppose I have been doing that all along, but I stopped letting the letdowns keep me down. I’d allow the sadness to wash over me then I would get up and keep it moving. I chose to face things, endure the frustration, and feel through it instead of slapping a band-aid on the wound and repeating the pattern. Being within your vulnerability and seeking an understanding of self and others can put you in a different stratosphere, and that is where you thrive.
I had been waiting on others to collaborate with on creative projects, a blog in particular. After some time planning, I found the bravery to speak my truth and do it all by myself. How liberating! I stopped waiting on the world to catch up with my thought process, and I started to see it follow my lead. Though I am learning as I go, I am enjoying the flow of the process. I am resoating with people through my creative expression of healing, which is creating growth. In a state of survival, we are floundering and self-loathing, and in a state of thriving, we are authentic and purposeful.
Focus on Loved Ones
Rather than perceiving the bubbles and social distancing as a limitation, I strengthened bonds with heart-centered connections. I was also able to focus specifically on those people and realize where I needed to release more egoic attachments. I can attest to the reconnection with soulful friends and finding the trust to deepen newer relationships I see longevity. I grew more comfortable in my skin this year, reflective of my openness with others. It was an act of bravery each time, and the conversations from January to December are the great markers of my growth and seeing that equally in others. It has been a beautiful thing.
Heal and Relax into Yourself
I love psychoanalysis and evolving through wellness. Self-care is crucial, especially if you are an empathetic person. I evolved so hard this past year, I have found forgiveness in all its forms, and I no longer poured from an empty cup. A work in progress is still stunning because you can see how far you have come and where you are headed.
When the gyms closed, for example, the immediate fear was failing health and boredom. However, my body was craving rest after excess time spent there. I was able to pivot back into running full-time through the summer. Moving meditation is the best description for running. I took in numerous audiobooks and podcasts, hit more mileage than ever before, and was in the most gratitude with every foot-strike. I used each run as a practice to fully engage my mind, body, and spirit. I allowed my intuition to guide my routes, smiled at all the dogs I passed (as though that is different than any other time in my life), or to take recovery time as I needed, and I had some of the best runs of my life thus far. I even cried a few times when I was feeling down. I was so fast though no passerby would be able to tell. I have come to appreciate every moment with myself, and that is what comes from healing, relax into your greatness.
Give and Be Grateful
I care too much. It is inherent in my personality, yes. I always give. I step up for causes. In my self-deemed saintly role, as it sounds like here, showing kindness, support, and taking the time to understand other perspectives has been my ultimate life hack. Contributing to the betterment of others is the ultimate joyful expression, and we all benefit. Be unconditional in your offerings because it is the notion of separatism that got us to this point in society. We turn this ship around.
In the wise words of modern-day guru and Hollywood legend Jeff Bridges: “We can make a difference! We can turn this ship in the way we wanna go, man! Towards love, creating a healthy planet for all of us.”