April 16, 2013

Finding Gratitude on a Tragic Day.

10 Things I’m thankful for, even, and especially, during our nation’s grief.

I won’t pretend to find a silver lining to the tragedies that have recently struck our country’s hearts.

Sometimes life’s wounds—especially those invisible ones—are simply too much to bear.

I look out my large front picture window and see rain pouring down, as I hear the sounds of thunder strike repeatedly. It seems that nature, too, is weeping for the grieving.

As a country, we move through these types of humbling human experiences by pulling together. I find this ironic, since at the center of these acts is someone who desperately wants to tear us apart.

They did not win.

On this day, when I have nothing exceptional to add to the incredible news reporting that’s being continually updated, I thought I’d share a different kind of story with you instead.

I’m participating in a project for my on-going yoga teacher training, and one of our daily activities is to journal the 10 things we’re thankful for. I’ve decided to share with you my grateful soul.

1. I’m thankful for the earth; for the way that she supports me and holds me up when it seems that my own legs cannot.

2. I’m thankful for the love that the universe continually brings into my life in the form of smiles, kind words and simple yet moving gestures.

3. I’m thankful for this rain. I’m thankful for the thunder. I’m grateful because these things encourage me to stop and listen, and feel and look; and take in what’s happening around me even when it’s difficult.

4. I’m thankful that even when it seems the sun will never come out again, it always does.

5. I’m thankful for our country’s police. I know that these often silent heroes get a lot of flack, and I find this unjust. There are good men and women who honor us every single day just by doing their important jobs.

6. I’m thankful for elephant journal. This tragic event has helped me remember why I’m picky and cautious about what news sources present me with my information. I’m eternally grateful to have full, on-going coverage on a site that also refuses to share the gore.

7. I’m thankful for my pain. My heart is heavy for Boston, and I’m not personally involved in this disaster in a way that merits words from me; however, I’m thankful that God (or the divine or the universe, or whatever you want to call it) blessed me with a sensitive, emotional soul that has the ability to feel suffering, and its partner—joy.

8. I’m thankful for wiser people. I’m glad there was once a Mr. Rogers to share his words of wisdom. I’m beyond appreciative that there’s a Dalia Lama to quote for inspiration when it’s needed. Too often, I forget about our mental and spiritual heavy weights, because I’m trying to create and find my own enlightening thoughts and feelings—yet we all need teachers, and some are universal.

9. I’m thankful for my child. There’s nothing more perverse and unjust than the loss of a child. On this day, I bow to my daughter and to the happiness that she places inside of my heart by being her small self.

10. I’m thankful that I’m an American. The USA obviously has issues and challenges. We can certainly be looked upon as the still-learning teenager of our world—but I’m still glad I’m an American. I’m proud of the way that our citizens unite (even during oppositions) in order to create change, healing and peace. 

I pause and look back out my large front picture window. The sky is still a foreboding shade of deep grey—but the rain has stopped and my yellow daffodils are washed in a subtle stream of light.


“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


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Ed: Kate Bartolotta

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Jana Apr 16, 2013 2:27pm

Can you tell me where to purchase the Grateful beads?

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Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She’s also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.