10 Ways Gratitude Can Change Your Life

(photo by David Wagner)






Again, it’s been a while. The pace of life and daily demands continue to get in the way of writing. But, it doesn’t get in the way of reflecting. I reflect daily, when something doesn’t sit right. When a comment, smile, nod doesn’t feel right or when I notice something beautiful. Practicing reflection takes conscious effort and I don’t always get it right, but I’m trying.

The last month has been charged. Politically. Socially. Spiritually. We all feel it. I’ve watched friendships disintegrate on Facebook. I’ve watched constructive conversations go terribly array. I’ve watched news cycles turn into churning critiques, filled with frustration, fear and bitterness. Once again, many feel helpless, powerless, and disheartened.

It’s not new – this social uproar. It may feel HUGE right now and it is. But, social uproar can be a catalyst for change. For bringing pivotal issues to the forefront. It forces conversations to be had out loud, in vibrant tones. Conversations that may otherwise have been had behind closed doors or in hushed voices.

I’ve sat with all of this for a month now. Watched highly intelligent and passionate people articulate so eloquently their points of view. Watched others rage in fear, pain, and dissolution. I felt it all. Every bit. Every comment. Every heartfelt plea.

I felt it and this is what I want to say. Don’t give up. Reflect. Daily. On the joys in your life, the friendships you’ve built, the passionate, intelligent people around you. See the good – on both sides (of the aisle, issue). Speak up, respectfully. Do good, daily. Our ability to break down the BIG things into small daily reflections and actions will make change.

Regardless of your political or religious affiliation, this season brings hope and light. It’s a time of reconnecting with family and friends. What we also need to remember is it’s a time of respect for and reflection about our true place in all of it. A time to be reminded of our humanness and the humanness of those around us.

Perspectives and passions may differ, but our job is not to change others. It’s to LISTEN to others. To SEE how they see. Only by seeing what others see, feeling what others feel can we truly understand them. In doing so, we build compassion and also insight that can help us share ourselves and our own views more authentically.

My hope is that we can all find a little peace in this tumultuous political and social environment. That we can reflect daily and be grateful for the opportunities we have to connect with others. For me, this past month has required mindful reflection to find gratitude in turmoil and peace in a time of uproar.