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Two Sides of the Same Coin: Finding Gratitude in the Face of Adversity

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

Your Magenta Monday Magic.

I had a thought the other day that I wonder if you’ve considered, too. It’s one thing to practice gratitude when our lives are going relatively smoothly, but what about when times are tough?

If we’ve lost a loved one, for example, it can feel difficult to practice gratitude.

At times, the pain can feel overwhelming, and the last thing you might want to do is to be present to gratitude.

In January, I had two people very close to me each lose someone they loved just days apart.

They were both the ‘this-isn't-the-way-this-is-supposed-to-happen’ kind of losses. One lost her son quite suddenly, and the other one’s husband had been dealing with cancer for more than 2 years. I don’t think that either one would tell me that her loss was easier because she knew it was coming, so she was prepared for it. And definitely not because he went quickly.

Both are in excruciating pain and as their friend, all I can do is be there for them as much as possible.

The day I found out about the death of my friend’s son, I cried with her on the phone. It was the day after my other friend lost her husband to cancer. My heart was broken for both of them.

It wasn’t long after that I got into my car to head up to Santa Barbara. Still feeling emotional, I looked up into the sky and noticed how brilliant blue it was against the fluffy clouds. (If you know me, you know that I have a cloud addiction.)

And it struck me - that even in the midst of all this pain, there is beauty.

That evening as I sat on the couch in front of the fire with my dog, I had this profound sense of gratitude for the moment. My heart was full. The pain didn’t change that.

The beautiful thing about life is that there is room for all of it - grieving, beauty, love, joy, and gratitude.

It’s not an ‘either/or’, it's a ‘yes and’.

Feeling that gratitude didn’t lessen the heartbreak and loss, but it did allow me to show up and be strong for my friends. I can feel their pain, yet not park myself there.

I noticed that during the ensuing celebration of life, I was present to the beauty of the rain storm coming in off the coast over the silver water as we prayed on the beach. I experienced the love and laughter of those sharing their stories of that beautiful young man, my friend’s son. For my friend’s husband, I again felt the love and laughter mixed in with the tears and sorrow.

I felt truly present to how beautiful life is - how we can feel so many emotions at once and welcome them all equally. ⛅

And it did allow me to show up for both of them. To remind my one friend to turn around to take in the beauty on the beach, and to laugh with my other friend before the funeral when she said she was looking for the wedding planner and had to correct herself.

And yes, I realize that it was not me who was grieving through those tremendous losses and that it will be a long road ahead for them. But I also know that I have been there before, and gratitude for so many things in life is what got me through.

You can’t know loss without knowing love, and you can’t truly know joy without knowing pain. They are two sides of the same coin.

And for that I am grateful.


Monday Mindshift

It’s the 1° shift that makes the biggest difference over time.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

—Robert Brault

How’s your gratitude practice going? Have you been able to add to your journal, jar, or poster every day? Do you read it when you’re not feeling so great?

This week I encourage you to explore gratitude during grief. Consider: When have you been able to tap into gratitude in the face of grief?

I wrote this poem to help me process grief recently. It helped me gain some perspective. Maybe it can help you, too.

A love letter to grief

Hello, grief.

We meet again.

I feel you deep inside the pit of my stomach.

That old familiar place.

As many times as we’ve met, I still find myself surprised by you particularly when the circumstances come like a freight train, rocking me to my core in a single moment.

You wash over me in a seemingly endless wave of pain.

But in those quiet moments of reflection, I know that as painful as loss can be

it must be

for without it, I wouldn’t know true joy.

When you live and love so much there is going to be a loss.

Given that you are part of the fabric that weaves a purposeful, joyful life, I have a choice: to accept you or to be paralyzed by you.

And don’t get me wrong - despite whatever choice I make, I will at some point - sometimes more than once - be paralyzed by you.

But now

I want to let you know that you are welcome here.

I won’t push you away no matter how tempting that might be.

I promise to acknowledge you, make room for you, and surround you with love and light so that you can heal.

My only request of you is that you also make room for joy

and love

and laughter

and beauty

in the midst of the pain so that I can know that you won’t be here forever and that life truly goes on and is in and of itself, a beautiful miracle.

A miracle of which you are an integral part.


PS. I’d love to hear what activities you did to connect to your intentions! I invite you to share your thoughts and ideas with us in Thriving Mom’s Collective FB Group!


Living BRIGHTer is...

B - Be Brave

R - Cultivate Relationships

I - Live with Intention

G - Practice Gratitude

H - Prioritize Health

T - Live your Truth

What is Magenta?

The color magenta is one of universal harmony and emotional balance. It is spiritual yet practical, encouraging common sense and a balanced outlook on life. Magenta helps to create harmony and balance in every aspect of life; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Click on my calendar link to sign up for a FREE 45-minute Pathway to Purpose Breakthrough Session now.


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