As I sit here in my kitchen in Colorado looking out at the quiet snow, I am reminded how the practice of slowing down, being present and most importantly being grateful has brought me such peace.
Moving to this new place of quiet wasn’t always easy but looking back I now realize it was the quiet that I needed in order to find my own strength and SELF. The quiet was part of my journey.
My family moved over 4 years ago from the hussle and bussle of the Washington DC area. Having spent over 18 years there, we were quite used to the traffic, the noise, the urban life and the community that surrounded us. And what an awesome community it was. As we set out on our adventure to head west, I didn’t realize the transition would be a challenge. I had moved over 9 times in my life without hesitation or any thoughts of looking back. But for some reason this move was different. I was leaving a supportive community, my family, my career all in DC while we started to explore the Wild Wild West. It was almost like we were on vacation everyday! But of course we weren’t - school started., sports, work and life continued.
Then I lost my dad. My rock. My strong, smart, beautiful dad was gone. I didn’t get to say goodbye. None of us did. I had never felt so much grief. I had never really understood the loss of a parent. And it was at that moment the world stopped. Completely stopped. It seem to turn completely upside down. So like most of us, I stayed busy. With my work. My kids. My life. But I knew, having been in the world of holistic health for over 10 years, I was headed down the wrong path, and I needed to heal. So I began to question. I questioned how we heal. I questioned how we grieve. I even questioned my purpose, my life and who I truly was. Then the moments of quiet took over and the seeking began. The seeking for answers. The truth. And it was at that moment I realized I needed to stop in order to heal.
I began to peel back the layers of my life. And what helped me the most was starting to add in a daily practice of quiet and gratitude. Gratitude for the little things. For the hugs in the morning from my boys. For the bluebird that landed on a fence. For a nourishing bowl of butternut squash soup. For my sweet dog Lucy who begged to go for a walk. For my warm bed on those cold Colorado evenings. For the patience to heal. And for my dad. For the memories we shared. For the moments when he held my hand. For the life he gave us. For the travel to far away places. For the lessons he taught me. And for the time together.
After several weeks then months of daily gratitude, my heart began to open and my mind began to quiet. And it felt right. And it felt healing.
I realized that it wasn’t enough to sip on a cup of healing broth or eat my greens daily. I had to tap into my own healing. I had to stop. Listen. Breathe and be grateful. I had to nourish my mind, body and spirit. Exactly what I shared with so many clients before.
That I learned is that gratitude is not just about being thankful for the good things in your life, but it is about being thankful for everything in your life. There are things in your life which initially seem hard or difficult, but upon further reflection these things actually ignite more growth, healing and strength.
A study published in 2008 in the Journal of Research and Personality by psychologist, Alex Wood showed that gratitude reduced the frequency and duration of episodes of depression. Another study published in 2011 in the Applied Psychology Health and Well-Being, showed that writing in a gratitude journal for 15 minutes every evening helped students worry less at bedtime and sleep better and longer. The practice of gratitude has even been shown to affect higher levels of academic interest, engagement and performance. Recognizing all that you are thankful for, even during the tough times fosters resilience. Gratitude is nothing new - we have just gotten too busy to practice.
So how can you start a gratitude practice? Keep it simple. Begin each day or evening with a few deep breaths and maybe a cup of healing dandelion tea then begin to write. Write down one thing you are grateful for in your life - try not to write the same thing twice. I challenge you to try it for 30 days and see how your life might change? Maybe you will begin to sleep better? Or maybe you will start to notice the life around you in a different light? Or maybe you will begin to understand that even during your darkest days there are glimpses of light which will keep you moving and growing on your own life journey.
And if you already practice gratitude, please share with us how it has affected your life? Or the lives of those around you? Or maybe even your perspective and your health?
I know for me. Opening my heart to gratitude and quiet has given me the strength to write. To share. To heal. To find strength. To move forward. I continue to sip on my healing broth, eat my greens and drink my tea. But I also take time to breathe, move, meditate and be grateful. And when I do there are moments of joy.
breathe + be grateful.
To learn more about the workshops + yoga classes Katherine leads in Colorado or to set-up a holistic nutrition consult either in person or virtually please go to http://www.namastehealing.com/ or email her at email@example.com