I have been on a journey.  After finding myself disappearing for years, I have been on a journey to me.  I have been fortunate to meet amazing people who have helped guide me on my path.  One of the people that I am most fortunate to have met is Amanda Petersen.  She helped me realize that my journey is a spiritual one.  It was easy to fall into the trap of thinking that I was too bruised, broken or rough around the edges to think in terms of spirituality.  The word can sound a bit lofty right? That’s one of the things I love most about Amanda, she keeps spirituality real! I have had amazing self-discoveries on this journey and gratitude has been a big one.  This idea of gratitude, well it sounds nice, but up until recently I had some real problems with gratitude. 

From an early age, we learn that we are supposed to be grateful.  As children we were often told to be grateful in response to our desires…we were to be grateful for the veggies we didn’t want to eat and grateful for the jeans we did get, even if they weren’t the Gloria Vanderbilt jeans with sparkly pockets!  The subtle lesson was, that by wanting something more or different, we were being ungrateful. Even as a child it seemed a little unfair to levy the judgement of ingratitude for voicing my desires. But let’s face it, the world does not look kindly upon ungrateful children, so I went with the path of least pain and resistance.   

We all know that life’s hardships become more difficult than veggies and designer jeans.  But here we are lugging around our gratitude baggage.  As we experience the unfair to the unthinkable, we tell ourselves that we are somehow supposed to be grateful.  The mature, virtuous and spiritual response is to find gratitude in the experience.  I may have swallowed my veggies, but I am not swallowing this!  So I figured this spiritual gratitude thing was not for me.  I determined I was too bruised and rough around the edges to be worthy of the enlightened experience of gratitude.  

But my journey does not end there because I met Amanda.   She provided me an opportunity to walk a different path. On this path I discovered that gratitude is not an action or an emotion.  It is not a response to a situation or experience. Gratitude is not about acceptance, it is about connection. Gratitude is our ability to connect to ourselves, others and the Universe, Source, God, or whatever word you use. Gratitude is not about accepting or being thankful for what is going on around us.  Gratitude is being in connection to our source of divine, regardless of what is going on around us.   I am going to ask you to take a moment and breathe that in…I don’t know about you, but I had packed a lot of guilt, confusion and failure in my gratitude bag over the years.  To unpack that weight and continue on my journey feels good! 

In these unprecedented times, we are going to experience a daunting amount of pain, sadness, fear and loss.  I will not ask you to be grateful for that, but I do invite you to explore gratitude. I believe that connection to ourselves, our community and our personal divine will get us through.  Know that I am sending you health, love and connection.  

If you are interested in exploring your soul-centered life please reach out to Amanda at Pathways of Grace.