Gratitude in the Breakdown

Dear grief, I am even grateful for you.

I’ve seen the words “gratitude” pop up rather often in the spiritual/personal development communities. If you are here, you probably have too. It’s one of those spiritual principles that truly crosses between all spiritual traditions and psychological theories. Why? Because it works.

However, I have found that most of my clients and most people were focusing their gratitude lists on all the obvious good that surrounded them. Which of course, is wonderful. But I found there was an extra layer of gratitude that brought about even deeper growth, that was missing from those gratitude lists.

I got to thinking, the things in life that usually trip us up and give us a feeling of being ungrateful, are the shitty things that happen in our life. The times when things don’t work out. The moments when the flow stops. The moments when the breakup occurs. The car breaks down. Your mom does the thing that triggered you like when you were 13 years old, the moments when people keep bumping you as you get into the train, the moments when it all just seems to be going down hill.

It is in these times, that our gratitude often fails us. It’s easier for us to place things like: “the sun beaming through my window, the beautiful surprise love note from my boyfriend, and wonderful dinner with my best friend” on our gratitude lists. But what about that those times when gratitude feels lifetimes away?

That is when it hit me. THIS is precisely when we need to find the gratitude. The kind of gratitude that you really have to dig for. Not just the surface gratitude.

We must learn to find the gratitude, not just in the breakthrough but to also find the gratitude amidst the breakdown!

The gratitude for the uncomfortable as it rises in your body when you find out you have been lied to. The gratitude of the void that you feel as you are break the relationship with the one you love. The gratitude of the waves of grief as it pulsates like angry waves through your nervous system.

What would your gratitude list look like then? I say that list would look beautifully raw and authentic.

Perhaps something like this…

1. I am grateful for the heartache that makes me feel raw and tender.
2. I am grateful for my loneliness for it allows me to love me deeper than ever before.
3. I am grateful for this job loss.
4. I am grateful for my depression.

Not as glamorous on the outside, I admit. But so much power.

The bigger the obstacle, the bigger the spiritual opening.

Before you rush away your pain and discomfort – can you be grateful for it first? Can you attempt to be grateful the moment the tragedy and discomfort hits? Note: this is not to deny your feelings; but to stand firm in the deeper knowing that to be alive, through any painful experience, is in and of itself a blessing. This is indeed part of the magic in this human experience.

What obstacle are you currently facing? List some of them below and in your journal. And next obstacle, I want you to write… I am grateful for this obstacle. I know there is wisdom and medicine for me here.

Gratitude for it all allows us to accept all seasons of life and all emotions.

I am grateful for this anger. I am grateful for this pain. I am grateful for this longing. I am grateful for this grief. I am grateful for this anxiety. I am grateful to be alive and feeling it all. I am grateful for my breakdowns and I am grateful for my breakthroughs. I am grateful for it all.

As we begin, to become grateful for it all- not just the seemingly happy and shiny and bright blessings. We begin to feel a deep sense of gratitude. This type of gratitude is less fleeting and more sustainable.

Allow yourself the gift to be grateful for it all today. Can’t wait to see your responses in the comments below.

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