Gratitude. When I think of gratitude, I think of community, of people banding together, holding each other up. I'm incredibly grateful for the community of writers who keep me inspired, keep me believing, keep me on track. When I think of gratitude, I think of Lisa (LK) Madigan -- author of Flash Burnout and The Mermaid's Mirror, who started the Thankful Thursdays blog meme, which caught on and showed me the contagious power of gratitude. Lisa was generous and kind and showed me how much kindness can make a difference. Even as she was dying of pancreatic cancer, she managed to find her way to gratitude. I think of the wide open spaces where I walk my dog and the wide open space that gratitude creates inside me. I think of my family and love and how love opens a similar space. Gratitude opens us, while fear shuts us down.
Sometimes, when life feels like more of a struggle, it can be harder to tap into gratitude. Yet that's exactly the time when we need it most. Gratitude can help us shift perspective, shake off fear and doubt, consume darker thoughts. It can be a lifeline. Even in the darkest times, gratitude can bring us back to the light. But just thinking it isn't enough, you have to really sink down into it and feel the gratitude, let it fill you up. Then act from there.
Do something kind. Be generous. Give something away. It'll make you feel good. It'll restore your faith in people. It'll inspire someone.
The other day my husband brought me home a little gift. It was a wooden sign to hang in my workspace that says: If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough.
It's the little things, the little thoughtful gifts that can change someone's day or mood or perspective. If you can't find your own gratitude, create someone else's and watch it become contagious.