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  1. Robin Ann

    If I didn’t have a “difficult situation” then I might not have found this wonderful site! There is a lot for me to be grateful for and I will try to focus on that. This morning very early we experienced hurricane force winds where I live. It was extremely frightening w/several trees down in our wooded area. Thankfully no damage occurred. Some minor flooding in our basement 2x this week with recent storms. We are truly grateful to be spared any huge disaster!

    3 months ago
    1. Barb C

      So glad you’re all right, Robin Ann!

      3 months ago
  2. Karlson kooper

    Yes I have had a family challenge since 2021, but I am very grateful for the strength and will to carry on with leaving my life everyday with smile. I am thankful for the breath that I have free from God. I am going breed very grateful that I have hands to wash myself, cook and feed myself, legs that moves me around, eyes to see, nose to breathe and mouth to hold conversations

    3 months ago
  3. Don Jones

    I like to think of gratitude as a way of being rather than something that I do, so in that sense, the question is, ‘am I in gratitude?’

    3 months ago
  4. Barb C

    In response to yesterday’s question I said I got up and did yoga for Future Me. We’d had a light skiff of snow that was mostly melted off by midday when I set out on a bike ride in the cold sunshine to ride to a meeting. I loved the ride right up until I hit a patch in the shade where the snow hid ice that hadn’t melted. My front tire washed out and I went down hard. Now Current Me has a brace on a sprained knee and various sore and strained spots. Future Me is going to have to wait quite a while before I can get back on that yoga mat.

    Bike folks know that after a crash the first question is “how’s the bike?” At first glance it wasn’t damaged; my husband used to work in a bike shop and is going to go over it thoroughly. That’s two things to be grateful for right there. I can add to the list that kind people immediately stopped to help by getting the bike out of the street and waiting with me while I called my husband, I have a good job with insurance, I didn’t break any bones, I got good medical care from friendly, helpful professionals, and we went out for some delicious restorative pizza once I had my brace. We’re living in an AirBnB while our house is restored and it’s a comfortable place, so that’s good.

    I could look ahead and worry about this coming Friday but am choosing not to. We have to relocate to another place because our remodel is running long and the only place I could find that will accept our cat is on the upper level of an old Victorian house. My husband will have to do all the moving of stuff and once I’m up those stairs I’m not coming down for a while. But I will still have a roof over my head, a place to sleep, and hot food in cold weather. So many don’t have that. Yes, my sprained knee hurts and we’ve had to change several plans very quickly. But it could be so much worse. Thinking about things I can be grateful for puts this difficult situation into perspective.

    3 months ago
    1. Nannette

      Oh no! I am so sorry to hear of your bike accident! I also was worried about your wrist. I hope your move went well and that your new “home away from home” will be comfortable for you and your feline buddy!! Wishing you a speedy recovery.

      3 months ago
    2. Michele

      Speedy recovery to you Barb, my first thought was OMG, did you land on your same wrist that was broken before…

      3 months ago
      1. Barb C

        Fortunately not! We’re joking now that I’m trying for symmetry. Since 2016 I’ve broken my left elbow, broken my right wrist, and now sprained my left knee, so clearly my right leg will have its turn sometime in the future. Stiff and sore, but glad my husband is so caring and helpful while I’m sidelined right when we need to be packing and moving.

        3 months ago
    3. Charlie T

      Ouch! Sorry to hear, Barb.
      Hoping for a fast recovery. ❤️‍🩹

      3 months ago
    4. Robin Ann

      Oh no Barb, so sorry to hear about your bike accident! Ouch! Wishing you a speedy recovery!!

      3 months ago
  5. C
    Christopher Le Flore

    It’s interesting that this is this mornings question, as I was reflecting on this prior to stopping by the website. I even wrote a poem as I was journaling reflecting on the good I’ve got from bad in my life. I’ve learned as I’ve got older that it’s one of my superpowers. Perhaps due to a difficult upbringing, I’m always the one in the room focused on what good can come of a difficult situation. I’ve only recently realized that there is a lot of value in that, and that sometimes others need somebody to point out the silver lining, because they don’t see it themselves.

    In not for mom’s codependency
    If not for her compulsion to focus on others needs
    I’d never have learned how to care for others
    Or how important it was to care for me

    If not for her strength in poverty
    I’d never have learned how to hope
    To be thankful for all that I have
    Even when I’m cold and broke

    If not for my fathers shame and rage
    I’d never have understood it in myself
    I’d never learned how to quell the anger
    That locked me in my private hell

    If not for drunk driver’s negligent acts
    I’d have never woken up
    I’d have stayed convinced life was a cruel joke
    And probably given up

    Buy nearly having life yanked away
    At such a tender age
    Made me realize how much mine was worth
    And that it was my duty to try to change

    Not having enough when I was young
    Taught me how it feels to want
    Taught me what it’s like to struggle
    That life has haves and have-nots

    If my wife had never left me
    I’d have never learned to be alone
    Or that I could do it by myself
    And make wherever I am a home

    I wouldn’t have recognized my own dishealth
    and that I still had work to do
    I wouldn’t have learned to respect the line
    that divides the me and you

    life is full of these contradictions
    sometimes it won’t make sense
    it’s hard to recognize your blessings
    when you’ve never struggled to make the rent

    that in every burden you must bear
    value is waiting to be found
    a silver lining, some wisdom shining
    and gratfulness abound

    3 months ago
    1. Robin Ann

      Very profound and therapeutic! Thank you for sharing.

      3 months ago
    2. Josie

      Much hard-won wisdom here, Christopher.
      Thanks for your honest sharing

      3 months ago
  6. Nannette

    When I am in the difficult situation- I cannot find the place to be grateful. After it has passed and if I think long and hard I am sure to find something to be grateful for. I am very high key- and get anxious quickly when circumstances become difficult…but if I take a deep breath and STOP as we talk about and practice here)….then the situation loses the “fire”…and I can see a bit more clearly and be grateful…for being alive and the experience.

    3 months ago
    1. Robin Ann

      In the moment yes, so very true!

      3 months ago
  7. Carol

    I’ve lived long enough to know that good can come out of chaos. For this I am grateful. In difficult situations, I tend to step back and examine my perspective on the situation before taking any action. What do I know for sure? Is this worth falling on my sword? Is this something I need to accept? An attitude of gratitude has helped me understand the difference between a situation and a problem. As Eckhart Tolle teaches, “Don’t turn a situation into a problem.” And, Rumi says, “Recognize that unlearning is the highest form of learning.” Consideration involves discernment.

    3 months ago
  8. Michele

    Yes, I am going through this right now. One must ALWAYS remain grateful. Kristi Nelson’s book also comes to mind.

    3 months ago
  9. Laura

    This question feels uncomfortably close to toxic positivity. Where all we have to do is find the good in each situation and everything will be just fine.
    However, many past difficulties come to mind, but I did not feel grateful for any aspect of them at the time. It was only later in hindsight that I could identify any aspect to be grateful for, such as personal growth. While experiencing those difficult times, though, I could find things to be grateful for, such as the support from friends and family, or the kindness of neighbors.

    3 months ago
    1. Barb C

      Hmm. I read it more as a reminder that if we look only for the negative that’s all we see. I’m not grateful for the bad thing itself but gain perspective about it if I reflect on other aspects that aren’t bad, or that equip me to handle the difficult situation.

      3 months ago
    2. Carol

      Thank you, Laura. Hindsight is 20/20!

      3 months ago
  10. Yram

    We have several difficult situations going on at this moment. I can identify with being grateful for health insurance, for friends that check in, for authors with encouraging words (the word of the day) and my wobbly faith and trust.

    3 months ago
  11. Journey

    Yes absolutely. My Eczema and my job loss are two difficult situations at the same time. But the aspect I am truly grateful for is that I don’t have to go to work, meet clients, commute on the train etc with Eczema. I can use this time to heal in peace. Everything happens for a reason.

    3 months ago
  12. sunnypatti

    I try to look at them as opportunities to grow and better myself.

    3 months ago
    1. Laura

      I echo Yram’s post. I hope you were able to have deep rest and nourishment.

      3 months ago
      1. sunnypatti

        Laura, I so appreciate your comment and all of the good that comes with it. I got a little, but we are taking a full day off no matter what on Monday or Tuesday and are both looking forward to it 🙂

        3 months ago
    2. Yram

      Thank you for sharing. For some reason I couldn’t post yesterday, but I wanted you to know you are in my prayers and thoughts. I hope your day off was refreshing as best it can.

      3 months ago
      1. sunnypatti

        Thank you, YRAM! Your comment almost made me cry. I appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers. I was grateful to not have to leave my house yesterday, and while I didn’t really sleep last night, I will catch up soon. My husband and I are working really hard to make the right decisions for our business, and making time for ourselves and rest is of utmost importance!!

        3 months ago
  13. Charlie T

    Finding gratitude in difficult situations
    is one of the best parts of practicing
    gratitude. It not easy, especially in the
    moment, but upon reflection, there is
    usually something to be grateful for, even in
    most difficult situations. Sometimes it’s
    obvious and other times it requires some
    digging. And sometimes it just requires
    more time to pass to reveal itself.

    3 months ago
    1. Yram

      I want to believe time is on my side. Thank you for that insight.

      3 months ago
  14. Mary Mantei

    When I take a micro-vision and think of my personal life, yes, I can find the opportunities in a challenging situation. Sometimes it takes a bit longer than other times. Where I am challenged, is when I look at life with a macro-vision and see the worst attributes of our species causing so much pain and destruction. I would be very interested in hearing how others find gratefulness in those situations.

    3 months ago
    1. Robin Ann

      My faith community stresses that one should focus on what changes can be made within your own reach.

      3 months ago
      1. Mary Mantei

        Thank you Ronin Ann.

        3 months ago
    2. Carol

      Mary Not sure I am answering how to find gratefulness with a macro-vision but thought you might find solace in what I share below.
      “Recognize that unlearning is the highest form of learning.”

      I remind myself often that each of us is the microcosm, we are little universes. When I see what we as a species are doing to each other, it’s hard not to despair. War never produces peace. It just identifies a new boss who is hell bent on staying in power. So I put my focus back on the microcosm because the best thing I can do is to be willing to evolve. If I can grow in self awareness, my personal evolution will not only nurture my little universe,hopefully’, it will impact my species has on The Universe.

      I keep an article called “The Inner Journey to Peace” in my personal journal and I do not know who wrote it but the author’s wisdom reminds me that I can best help our species by being willing to grow. Here’s the article:

      I heard two children talking recently and realized what children need from us. I also realized that we are giving them just the opposite. In these two children I heard a microcosm of a world at war. I was talking to children, to innocents, and discovered that they were not innocent of our wars at all. Children are, in fact, their carriers. These two children knew just whom to hate. They were Irish children, and they resented Americans for their money and they hated the English for their history. “I hate them,” the one child said simply. “Me, too,” the other child agreed. And it was final. Schooled in someone else’s attitudes, they were impervious to any other one.
      I saw in their faces all the children of the world. Hutu children and Serbian children and Palestinian children—children who were learning to hate Tutsi children and Bosnian children and Jewish children. They had all been born into a world of adult enemies, which they inherited along with the land under their feet. They had inherited the sins of their ancestors, and these sins festered like time-bombs within them, until years later those same weapons would surely go off in them, too.
      Clearly, it is the lack of peace within ourselves that we are passing on to our children. If we do not have a rich inner life, we will want the tinsel and glitter of the world around us, and someone else’s money to get it, too. If we are insecure, we want to control others. If we are not at peace with our own life, we will make combat with the people around us. And if we do not learn to face our own struggles, we will never have compassion for the struggles of others.
      Peace comes then when we learn what the Spirit is trying to teach us. When we feel rejected, we learn to seek the love above all loves in life. The Spirit is trying to teach us that when we are threatened by differences, we must come to realize that otherness is what stretches us beyond the narrowness of sameness. Instead, the desire for conquest comes when I try to shape the world to my own limited ideas of it. Then differences begin to be a threat rather than a promise of inspiring new possibilities or daring new experiences in life. Then, we set out to mold the rest of the world to our own small selves.
      We rape the planet and make war against strangers and build our private little walls higher and higher and higher. To feel good about ourselves, we measure ourselves against other races and sexes, religions and cultures and call them lesser, call them enemy. We entomb ourselves in ourselves. So brown people remain the enemy for generation after generation, and white people stay a menace to us all our lives, and strong women threaten our world view, and the children of this generation become the adversaries of the next one.
      The question is, then, what is the way to peace? Blaise Pascal wrote once, “The unhappiness of a person resides in one thing, to be unable to remain peacefully in a room.” It is silence and solitude, in other words, that brings us face to face with ourselves and the inner wars we must win to become truly peaceful people. Then, understanding myself I can understand everyone else as well.
      There is a major social obstacle, however, to a development of a spirituality of peace in this time, in our time. The fear of silence and solitude loom like cliffs in the modern human psyche. And noise becomes what protects us from confronting ourselves. Quiet is only a phantom memory in this culture. Some generations among us have had no experience of silence at all.
      Spiritual peace has been driven out by noise pollution, endemic and invasive. There is Muzak in the elevators and PA systems in the halls and people talking loudly on cellular phones everywhere—in offices and restaurants and kitchens and bedrooms—while the ubiquitous television spews talk devoid of thought and people shout above it about other things. There are loudspeakers in boats now so lakes are not safe. There are rock concerts in the countryside so the mountains are now not safe. There are telephones in bathrooms now so the shower is not safe. We don’t think anymore; we are wired for sound. Indeed, silence is the lost spiritual art of this society. Clamor and struggle have replaced it. But the great spiritual traditions are all clear about the role of silence in the spiritual life.
      “Elder, give me a word,” a seeker begged the Desert Monastic. And the holy one said, “My word to you is to go into your cell and your cell will teach you everything.”
      That point is clear and simple:  All your answers are within you. And so are the questions. The questions no one can ask of you but you. Everything else in the spiritual life is mere formula, mere exercise. It is the questions and the answers that are ranting within each of us that, in the end, will grow our souls. Then we will get to know ourselves. Then we will blush at what we see.  Then we will lose our self-righteousness. And come to peace.
      Silence does more than confront us with ourselves, however. Silence makes us wise. Knowing our own struggles, we come to reverence the struggles of others. Knowing our own failures, we are in awe of their successes, less quick to condemn, less intent on punishing, less certain of all our damaging certainties. Make no doubt about it, to listen for the voice of God, and to wrestle with the self is the nucleus of the spirituality of peace. It may, in fact, be what is most missing in a century saturated with information, sated with noise, smothered in struggle, but short on reflection, and aching for peace.
      Once upon a time a disciple asked,  “How shall I experience my oneness with creation?” And the elder answered, “By listening.”  “But how am I to listen?” the disciples asked. And the elder taught, “Become an ear that pays attention to every thing the universe is saying. The moment you hear something you yourself are saying, stop.”
      Peace will come when we expand our minds to listen to the noise within us that needs quieting and the wisdom from outside ourselves that needs to be learned. Then we will have something to leave the children besides hate, besides war, besides turmoil. Then peace will come.

      3 months ago
    3. C
      Christopher Le Flore

      I find that I’m able to find the good in the bad so long as I keep my fear in check, and I don’t take on responsibility for problems that I didn’t create.

      In the moment, if the rumination mill in my head runs amok, I’m consumed by thoughts of “this is my fault, I can’t fix it, I’m not smart enough to find the solution, everybody is going to see that I can’t handle the pressure, I’ll be found out as a phony and fired/abandonded/unfriended/whatever.

      When I’m able to maintain a healthy space between myself and the problem, it’s a lot easier to see the good that might come of a bad situation.

      3 months ago
    4. Michele

      I’m always amazed when there is a major event – hurricane/tornado/earthquake/wars/911 – people come out and help each other. Two sides – ‘see the worst attributes of our species causing so much pain and destruction’ and then the former.
      Hope that helps. People can be evil and people can be angels. As Metallica says ‘Sad but True’.

      3 months ago
      1. Barb C

        A Paradise Built in Hell The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit is a really wonderful book on this topic. We are communal beings and good emerges in the most trying circumstances.

        3 months ago
  15. Antoinette

    Now that there are people here who are so talented and thoughtful I can ask how you have made it through empty nesters syndrome? They say that’s a thing and I guess if I were to be honest with today’s question I can say I find this difficult. I have three boys – now men who don’t need me like they used to .
    I feel grateful for knowing that I have done a good job raising them and they are healthy and happy.
    So what’s the difficulty? I guess at this moment it feels empty- hence the empty nester syndrome?
    I feel myself not wanting to have this syndrome, or even these feelings. Actually they make me feel uncomfortable, and they make me not want to have them.. I don’t like feeling uncomfortable or lonely or useless and these are feelings that are coming up currently today. Sort of aimlessness and wandering feeling is coming up. This is a phase of human life and I see that . I am fortunate and grateful for my life and that I have been blessed in so many ways. I don’t mean to complain about it, but it is also a bit scary.
    Thanks for letting me share .

    3 months ago
    1. Robin Ann

      I agree with the fact it is the next chapter in your life, however the empty nest is very much there and felt! For me at that time I felt like I was not needed either or felt hurt by certain comments. But now both of my children have a special relationship with me and need me differently. The relationship changes. To me it is remarkable to witness the child turning into the adult and witness the little glimpses of what they have learned from you : )

      3 months ago
    2. Barb C

      Thank you for sharing this. I have my own experience and I don’t know how helpful it is. I have two grown daughters. One lives 300 miles away, one currently lives something like 5,900 miles away in Albania (my younger one is a world traveling digital nomad). I was fortunate that just as my younger was leaving for college I entered into a demanding new career in a new city. I didn’t have time to feel empty although I missed them both. Every chance I get to hug them we hold each other very, very tightly, appreciating that we’re together again. This comes more often with the one who lives across the state; I get over to see her 2 or 3 times a year. My sadness comes when I think about how I’m not there to help out as a grandma to her two stepchildren and that she and I can’t have an occasional Saturday afternoon outing for just the two of us unless I’ve had all the strain and expense of the journey (as the one who can afford to make it and who has more job flexibility).

      One of the things that helps me feel close to them is our group WhatsApp exchanges. We send each other links, pictures, silly videos or memes, snippets about what’s going on in our lives. I read poetry every morning along with coming to this site, and when a poem particularly resonates for me I recording my reading of it and send them the link if it’s online. Every so often we schedule a group video call. Given the time zone differences one of us might be getting ready for bed while the other is starting their day but that’s okay. We’re close in the ways we can be given where each of us lives now. When we see each other in person there’s no sense of separation; we’ve all been right here all along. I’ll add that this wouldn’t be good communication if any of us had an expectation of instant response or really any specific response at all; that would make it a burden rather than a loving connection. We send what we send when it occurs to us to send it. Not every reading of a poem gets an emoji! But they know I was thinking of them. I also have a separate WhatsApp connection with each of them since they’re not a salt and pepper shaker set.

      I’m so, so grateful for the technology that makes this possible! One of my older brothers did a lot of traveling too and my mom genuinely had to wonder at times if he was even alive, given that his letters written on that thin airmail paper had to travel from somewhere in South America to Idaho and they were weeks apart.

      3 months ago
    3. Laura

      You are not alone. I struggle with this, too, Antoinette. I have two grown daughters. No one told me how hard it would be to accept the success of launching two independent adults into the world. I try to be grateful for the limited time we have together and that they still like to have their mom with them. But I still struggle.
      Blessings to you.

      3 months ago
      1. Antoinette

        Thank you Laura . It is challenging a a lot like letting go of an important career we had in our lives. One we felt made our identities real. So now it’s time to trust and let go. Thank you again .

        3 months ago
    4. Yram

      I can identify with your feelings. This is a quote that to me, is hopeful.
      “When you come to the edge of all the light you know
      And are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown
      Faith is knowing one of two things will happen.
      There will be something solid to stand on
      Or you will be taught
      How to fly.” Anonymous

      3 months ago
      1. Antoinette

        Thank Yarm ! I appreciate the poem .

        3 months ago
    5. Charlie T

      Antoinette, I know this feeling well.
      Not from having kids, but from
      selling my business of 23yrs. It’s
      not a good feeling. I kept thinking
      of the Tom Petty song Free Fallen.
      I came to realize that I lost my
      identity and it made me dig deep
      into that subject. It was not an easy
      transition for me and it contributed
      to a real life crisis. But, it also led me
      here, and for that I am grateful.
      Upon reflection, I would have been
      more open about my feelings. I think
      you are on the right path, by being
      open about your situation. This is a
      new chapter for you. Yeah, it’s scary.
      But it can also be exciting.

      3 months ago
      1. C
        Christopher Le Flore

        I think you’re touching on soemthing very important, and that doesn’t get enough attention in the professional world. I work in IT management, and it’s a field with a lot of exceptionally bright people that put a lot of expectation on themselves. Often, they think they must be the smartest person in the room. They think that they must always know the answer. They think that they aren’t allowed to make a mistake. I learned earlier in my career that I cannot let my identity become tied to my work. I try to lead my team to the same understand. This is your job. It isn’t who you are. Just as our thoughts are not who we are, neither is the job role we fill everyday.

        I think our culture is so hyper-focused on performance and production, that we can easily lose sight of ourselves in our professional lives, and come to believe that our value as a person is tied to the work we do. It’s a lie that hurts a lot of us. We are valuable just as we are. Our value isn’t contingent on what job role we fill or how well we do so.

        3 months ago
      2. Antoinette

        Thank you Charlie . I appreciate that you are offering these kind worlds of entertainment.

        3 months ago
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