Gratitude Defined

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” -Melody Beattie, Author and Journalist

Last November, in keeping with the holiday spirit, I wrote a blog titled “Gratitude Defines You,” which fleshed out what difference there is between gratitude and just being thankful. It is kind of an intense read, and upon revisiting it has taken on a certain depth it did not have before the genesis of covid 19. When I reflect on what inspired me to write in the way I did, all the small little worries of the typical holiday season like being able to fit all of our to-do lists and extraneous errands into what never seems like enough hours, I can’t help but be humored.

So many things, from the way we do happy hour to how we are planning our holiday season has changed so much, and reading some of the other blogs I wrote around Christmas last year almost feels like reading my high school journal, every worry so distant and foreign. Just as it was worth mentioning last year that it’s easy to lose sight of what is important and worth celebrating during the holidays, it is easy to lose sight of what we are doing now in the time of coronavirus to keep one another healthy and safe.

At a time when what we busy ourselves with work and social life, travel and leisure-was suddenly taken away from us in an effort to limit the spread of infection, we were forced to find gratitude for what’s left, lest we become bitter and angry over things we cannot control.

There is a poetic thickness about having to cancel a holiday dedicated to giving thanks in order to preserve the most important thing that truly deserves our gratitude: our health.

I find myself weighing not having a Thanksgiving as big and exciting as it usually is against how it will benefit my community to not be around others in enclosed spaces, and the harm reduction benefit here is without contest.

When I consider what it will be like looking back on this season in our country’s history, I know I will be humored that wearing a mask while in public was allowed to take up so much of our energy.

There is an important lesson in gratitude here: that in this moment I am able to do the critical work of helping people overcome stress and trauma through massage, with a crew of amazing coworkers and working on a client base that is nothing short of enviable, and all in a beautiful city with great neighbors and a strong community ethos.

Everyone reading this also has a life full of beautiful things, and each of our lives is enough. Even though I let myself get tangled up with the small concerns of every adjustment and compromise I have made for greater good, what we do with these challenges-whether we choose to handle them with grace or resist them stubbornly, will allow us to either grow with the flow or stay stagnant. You have it in you to cultivate gratitude amid all of the uncertainty of today, and let it form a vision of what you want the future to look like.

– Colleen, Sacred Hour Massage Therapist, Certified Yoga Teacher + Head Staff Writer