Be Challenged, Be Empowered, Blog

Grounded in Gratitude: Creating Your Own Sunshine

Greetings, brilliant souls, from the frigid north, where the sun is beginning to shine and the glimmers of sunset are lasting longer every day. Where are you this week? Spending more time listening and less time “fixing”? Getting a fresh perspective through the helpful brainstorming of your peers? Whatever’s up for you this week, I hope this finds you well, and has something you need ❤

As I said, here in the tundra of New England, we’ve had a spot of sunshine this week. One of those rare streaks of warmth, in the deepest part of winter, when the weather has been cold and dreary for so long that you start to forget what it felt like to bare your arms or breathe deeply of fresh air without it burning your lungs.

If you come from an equally subarctic locale, the Pacific Northwest maybe the UK/Ireland, you know this feeling. The rain feels interminable, doing positive things takes twice as much energy as usual, and hibernation feels like the only option. Even if you don’t live somewhere where the days of poor weather outnumber the sunny days 2 to 1, you’ve experienced a stretch of poor weather that really cramps your style.

There are times in life when it feels like it’s raining regardless of what the weather is doing outside. A nagging coworker makes snide comments about you day after day. Your family isn’t motivated to contribute to the positive flow of life at home and you feel overworked and unappreciated. Constantly getting stuck in traffic during your commute wears on you. Best friends stop calling, your weight loss hits a plateau, people move on to other phases of life without you, and things feel bleak. In that place, it’s hard to remember what life felt like before, when things were going smoothly, and progress was coming every day. Usually we handle this by slogging through until eventually things change, whether in our power or from outside forces. And the sun finally shines again.

When you wake up to sunshine after a week of rain it feels like anything is possible. There is energy flowing, birds and little animals come out of hiding and sounds of life are in the air. Making healthy decisions feels easier. It doesn’t take as much work to be kind. Your body and mind are rejuvenated and energized. It’s powerful and kind of staggering! An outpouring of positivity has the power to wash away weeks or months of monotony and challenge.

It’s brilliant and I always forget how good it feels until I experience it again. Humans only remember good feelings for like a day before the feeling is gone to the recesses of our minds. Negative emotions we feel for ages and dredge up again all the time, but since we don’t have to remember positive situations and feelings for our future safety, we tend to forget them pretty quickly. We forget them, but they aren’t gone. All of those days of sunshine are still in our minds, and it’s easy enough to recall them if you try. We can put ourselves right back in those positive moments and do, when reminiscing with family members, swapping stories with friends and reliving the glory days.

If we have the power to go there, feel those emotions and gain energy from them, why don’t we? If moments of extreme gratitude and joy are right there for us to visit, why do we instead choose to live in the shadows, wallowing in the lazy, low-energy, junk food binge?

My excuse is usually that I’m tired… Snow and gloom make you tired and if I got up earlier to spend time in those memories, reliving the extremely positive emotions, I would be even more tired. Sometimes being grumpy and indulging the disempowered beast that comes out on rainy days feels good! I’ll be the first to admit that making progress and improving yourself is hard work, and when life or the weather is sapping those precious energy reserves, doing what you know you should do feels even more impossible than usual!

The fact is, if we wait for the weather to improve before we get out of the funk, we can miss a million opportunities in the meantime. When it rains there are puddles to be splashed in, and the feeling of running in the rain is the closest you can get to starring in your own action movie without having to pay. There are things to be learned in the gloomy challenging days of life, and without a refocusing wake-up call we’ll miss the valuable lessons.

Remembering the soaring moments and connecting to the gratitude, joy and wonder you felt in them is the most powerful way to combat the challenges of life. Your mind is the most powerful TV screen ever, and through it you not only see, but feel. Simply by mentally travelling to those moments and soaking in those feelings has the power to completely change your perspective, and through your perspective, change your life.

Next time the your emotions have you feeling drained, the rain pouring down outside has you feeling pessimistic, and the constant challenges leave you lacking the energy to move yourself forward, I challenge you to recognize that place, acknowledge the feelings and their origin, and see if you can use gratitude to move yourself into a different space. I’ve personally seen and felt the effects of using gratitude as a focusing point every day, and can honestly say that it has changed my life. 20 minutes every morning reliving a few spots on my highlight reel, and focusing that positive energy on what I’m working to achieve is honestly what keeps me going every day.

You’ve led a beautiful, wonderful, complex and glorious life! Why not use those experiences to make your everyday life beautiful, wonderful, complex and glorious?!

Give it a go 🙂

 

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