Gratitude for challenges

On a beautiful sunny day, walking on the beach in Portugal, I felt the warm sun on my head and watched the waves rolling back and forth in a soothing rhythm. Feelings of gratitude flowed easily. 

My mind was still processing the inspiring group that had gathered for the breathwork retreat in a sacred valley for six days and emerged with fresh inspiration, insight, and healing. 

In the flutter and pace of some days, it takes effort to notice and appreciate the things that ARE working and feel good before they slip by. 

That pause to take a breath and notice how luck, timing, and effort conspire to deliver joy in our lives is the best first step toward a regular gratitude practice. Last week in Portugal, on the beach, I remembered. 

Then there are life’s challenges. When life does not go as planned. When grief and anger feel like ever-rising waters. 

Then I remember again. The times and places I have grown and healed the most are in those places of discomfort. The gut-wrenching, dark days with lots of tears, and writing angry letters that will be burned before any others’ eyes might see the words I have written. 

I remember how many times I have asked why?  Why?  Why is it so hard sometimes? 

Then I remember Alice and Dorothy. Their stories are not about happy days. The reality is that the human life experience has bumps.  Many bumps. The world of nature and our own foibles bounce around continually like pinballs. 

If I really remember and follow the path of my past challenges and my favorite heroine’s stories, those challenges lead to growth, resilience, and gratitude. 

 When gratitude flows, especially when I am in the challenges, it’s an inner stillness, a moment to refocus and trust this moment and refocus to be open to the bounty of growth this seed of challenge has yet to reveal. 

What might it look like to cultivate gratitude for the challenges you are facing today?

Leave a Comment