Friday, February 27, 2015

Whole Gratitude

Posted by Melissa Baumgart

Gratitude month was rolling along, heartsplosions (that feeling of joy and love that swells into your chest and feels like your heart is connecting with the entire universe) were a regular occurrence and I was feeling grateful for simply being alive with every step of my day.  Even though life was not without struggle, I was able to maintain and firm grasp on gratitude, and I felt the rewards of my effort.  I was eating healthy, going to yoga, keeping my house clean, tidy and organized.  I had even let go of the fear that it would all come crumbling down, that darkness would ooze in, and I would once again be overwhelmed and burdened by life's everyday stresses. 

Three days ago, I had a particularly stressful chain of events fall into my life.  I reacted hastily, and angrily.  I cried.  I was emotional.  I wasn't grateful.  I wanted to hole up with a burger and fries and a bottle of wine.  By yesterday, I was so overwhelmed I didn't even want to see anyone, let alone go to work and pretend to be happy.  I wasn't even trying to be grateful.  The concept of being thankful to be alive was replaced by visions of driving off the I-5 bridge.  I'd never do it, but my mind can be dramatic.  And besides, the barrier is too high and sturdy. 

That afternoon, I looked down and my feet were walking along the same sidewalk I was on when just Monday I had been feeling incredibly grateful, just to be alive with all the possibility each breath brings.  I was muttering to myself about how much my life sucked, when that reminder of gratitude interrupted me.  I remembered the feeling, it was so pure and organic and it felt like it would always be with me.  As I allowed that memory to take up more space in my inner dialogue, I realized that I was being a bit one sided.  Not whole.  Not myself.  I am someone that chooses to be grateful for all of my life.  The days glittered with heartsplosions AND the days of overwhelm and breakdown. 

Life isn't perfect, and neither are we.  Take it easy on yourself.  Be open to what is, be grateful for what life brings you, no matter what.  I truly believe there is always a silver lining, even in life's shitty situations.  It's OK to be upset, to be pissed and yell and cry, and lay in your bed all afternoon if you need to.  This too shall pass (this holds true for the ups and the downs!).  And when we are carried through the struggle on a foundation of gratitude, I want more than anything to believe that we are better off.  Because we have chosen to remain whole, to not deny any emotions or part of life's rich experiences.  And then we can emerge from whatever life brings as an authentic human being.  Less afraid, and more open for what is next to come.

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