Day 3: Gratitude is Magic (How I made it a beautiful thing on a nude beach)

So, it's day three in my "Week of Hugs" blogfest, and I'm going to talk about gratitude today. (Because it's magic.) In the wake of the election, I know many of you are feeling scared and even a bit hopeless, so it's brought me great comfort to know that my articles have been helping some of you. Thank you for sharing them, and for letting me know. It means a LOT. 

In case you missed it, I started with my "7 Ways to Create a Positive Path Forward After the Election" post, and since then I've been doing daily blogs to give you virtual hugs. And as mentioned before, if you don't feel better after reading any of them, let me know and I'll send you a free e-book of your choice (of any of my cookbooks). : )

OK so now let's talk about why gratitude is so crazy amazing . . . 

I've learned over my 45 years on the planet (this time around) that often, our darkest moments (and hardest experiences) hold the best gifts. They've made me the person that I am, and given me a lot of peace and perspective. But it's certainly not easy.

One of the best ways I've found to deal with hard experiences is to say THANK YOU. When we can be grateful for the stuff we don't want, not just the obvious gifts, we open up to a whole new world. I'm not even kidding. 

For most of us, the concept of gratitude makes sense when it's related to things we want. Job promotion? Sure! Praise the Lord! New house? Absolutely, let me give thanks. But, when we're given something we don't want, what's our typical reaction? "OH MAN THIS SUUUUUUCCCKS."

Let me present an ulterior perspective, loves . . . 

This is something I began to learn back in 1994 when I'd just graduated college. I had taken a trip to Hawaii with basically no money and nowhere to stay. It was my first big bold adventure. I was playing the game "Leap and the net will appear" - otherwise known as "the Universe has my back." At first, things went well. I'd found a beach (yes, a nude beach) where people could camp out and live. It was an oddly peaceful setting, and everyone there was really respectful. The nudity aspect was more like "oh it feels nice to sunbathe nude or frolic in the waves without any barriers" vs. pervs with binoculars. Families stayed there, and there was even a place to shower under a waterfall. Oh, and guavas. My God, the guavas. Life didn't suck.

Fast forward to a few weeks later though, me still living on the beach, but my little bit of money had run out and I had no prospects. I was fa-reaking out! 

Then, I had a short conversation I'll never forget. I was telling someone I'd just met about my predicament, and how it was hopeless. He smiled at me and said "Make it a beautiful thing." I think maybe he was my angel or something because in that moment, everything shifted. I felt like the Universe was speaking directly to me through him, and telling me that if I changed my attitude, things might be different. 

So, I decided to give it a try. Later that night, when I was alone, I said "Thank you for this experience. I trust there's something in it I need to learn, otherwise I wouldn't be having it. Please show me what I need to learn from this, and how I can change." I went to bed that night, a little worried about what I'd eat for breakfast the next day, but also open to "making it a beautiful thing."

The next morning, I unzipped my tent to find a plethora of tropical fruit on my "doorstep" (aka towel on the sand). I just sat there, staring. Was this real??? I will never forget that moment. It felt like the Universe was telling me "See what happens when you open up and trust and give thanks for EVERYTHING? I really do have your back."

The next few weeks and months in Hawaii were an intense time of growth for me. I continued to "make it a beautiful thing" by staying thankful (no matter what), and I learned some deeply important lessons that have affected the course of my life in a positive way.

Since then, I've found this "gratitude trick" has made my life infinitely lighter and easier and better. Whenever I feel stuck or upset about a situation I don't like, I (eventually) remember to say "Thank you." There is always a reason for that experience, something I need to learn from it. I've found that once I really learn from a pattern or experience, I somehow stop having that in my life.

Another example I'll mention from my younger days was when I was having daily panic attacks and letting fear run my life. It was an absolute nightmare. But again, I said (finally - after plenty of suffering), "Thank you for this. What's my lesson here?" Long story short, that year of nightmarish existence gave way to me learning how to meditate, do affirmations, and visualize. Because of those horrifying panic attacks, I was forced to learn inner wellness tools that I still use today, and share with my coaching clients. Not only did those panic attacks have an AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL gift for me, it's been passed on to others. 

We are given challenges, you guys, in order to overcome those unconscious parts of ourselves. How could we ever learn things like unconditional love, compassion, forgiveness, and empowerment without those difficult teachers, showing us the places within that need healing?

And in the wake of this election, when so many of us are saying "This is NOT what I wanted," it's possible there's something we don't see. For example, I've noticed that SO MANY people are mobilizing, joining together, and getting empowered as of this past Wednesday. I've seen love-sharing and community in a way that is unprecedented. I've seen way less ass-sitting and way more DOING. I've seen a lot of THIS quote:

Chaos Always Precedes Real Change.
Stand on the side of LOVE.

So, don't take my word for it. But please do TRY it. The next time you find yourself thinking "why me" or "why this" take a moment to shift your perspective to UNCONDITIONAL GRATITUDE. Say "Thank you for this thing I don't want. I know there is something beautiful in this for me. Please help me see it."  Then, magic.

Much love to you on your journey, beautiful YOU. And I'll be back again tomorrow with God only knows what for Day Four!