Welcome to our practice. Let’s begin…

We invite you to close your eyes and take one or two slow, deep breaths. Then open your eyes and read today’s quote by Sarah Ban Breathnach: “While we cry ourselves to sleep, gratitude waits patiently to console and reassure us; there is a landscape larger than the one we can see.

  • Let the words in the quote sit with you for a moment or two.
  • What do you notice? Become aware of any feelings, sensations, thoughts, or images that might arise.
  • Then read the question: What strength of character have I earned from the hard times in my life? 

It is natural to find it hard to imagine and appreciate the strengths and possibilities that can emerge from our hardships. And yet, when we look back, can we identify opportunities that have been born of suffering and learning that has grown from facing our challenges? Can we coax gratitude out of the shadows of our sadness? Can we recognize strengths of character we have earned from the hard times in life?

Share your responses to any of the above in the reflection area below, write in a journal at home (or online), or simply let the quote and question accompany you throughout the day.

Notice how this exploration impacts you…and those around you.

In the midst of the difficult times in our lives, it can seem challenging to muster gratitude for much of anything, especially for the challenges themselves. And yet we can often point to our greatest learning, insight, and growth as having arisen in the rocky terrain of hard times. Everyday Gratitude, and grateful living, help us remember the larger, longer landscape of our lives and to trust that compassion, vulnerability, and curiosity can help us harvest the lessons that will become our future wisdom.

For further inspiration you might appreciate:

Adversity and Gratitude – a practice by Jennifer Wilhoit

Because Even the Word Obstacle is an Obstacle – a poem by Alison Luterman

Just Slightly West and South of A Place Called Despair – a blog by Dale Biron

The image above is excerpted from Everyday Gratitude © by A Network for Grateful Living; book design and lettering by Alethea Morrison; watercolors and cover illustration © Katie Eberts, with additional watercolors by Clikchic Designs; used with permission from Storey Publishing.

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Enjoy the full eight-day Everyday Gratitude practice series.