Your Life’s Struggles
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”
~ Brian Tracy
Giving thanks for everything that happens to you might feel like a challenge. Yet, there is purpose, even in pain -- if not a purpose, there’s always something to learn about yourself or about life. When life seems to overwhelm you with grief, fear, anger, hopelessness, or sadness, know it will pass. Realize that in these times, you’re meant to learn and grow.
Kahlil Gibran, a philosopher and gentle spirit, spoke to this nonduality in life. Long ago he stated: “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
This week open yourself to the depth sorrow has carved into your being. Begin to view this open space, made from life’s circumstances, in a fresh way. Joy can fill this space, especially when you can see a possible purpose in your struggles.
Each day reflect on one struggle you’ve faced in life. Look at each event, whether it was for you to endure alone or with others, and search for peace within. Find something to be grateful for regarding this pain - a gift, a purpose, personal growth or something you learned from enduring the experience.
Perhaps you grew as an individual - having become more forgiving, trusting, honest, authentic, or accepting. Maybe you realized how strong you are, how blessed or cared for. During some difficult time, there was, perhaps, an opportunity for you to experience kindness from others. There may be ways you grew from pain into a more confident person, knowing what you stand for, your morals and values, your purpose and passion for life.
Struggles in life are unavoidable, and they’re purposeful. There are no reasons for you to hold onto the past, especially if you grasp onto anger, regret, shame, or unforgiveness. Choose to remain in this present moment. Finding gratitude, even for your struggles, helps free you to enjoy today and the future.
Gratitude Challenge: This entire week might feel challenging but be courageous and trusting. You will begin a journey of healing, and it’s worth it. If you want to bring your healing a bit further, sit with a trusted friend and share the experience you’re reflecting upon and how you’re searching for inner peace.
*If you don’t have seven struggles to reflect upon this week, consider the struggles of someone whom you care about, and find ways in which perhaps there was purpose in their life event. You don’t need to share your ideas with these people, you need only send them love, peace, and hope from your heart.
A Special Gratitude Focus
Gratitude + Giving Hope to Others
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all.”
~ Emily Dickinson
I know someone who could use a little hope. Someone...
who has never really felt passionate love in her life.
who is slowly losing his eyesight.
who lacks confidence in herself.
who has always wanted to have a child but can’t conceive.
who has been struggling with chronic pain from a car accident for over twelve years.
who feels lost in life - feeling like he has no purpose.
who is drinking so much that his life is fading away to a blur.
who is coping with an eating disorder.
Who do you know? Who needs some hope?
Most of us have witnessed someone walking through a major life struggle. Sometimes those life events - struggles that are very frightening or tragic - can seem to define someone or leave an indelible mark on their ability to be joyful.
This week think about seven people who are struggling in some way. What do you wish for each person? What hope do you have for their lives and futures? For each day, record one person’s name and your hope-filled wish for him or her. Then close your eyes and say a little prayer or feel some hope for each. You might even try to envision this person experiencing your wish coming true.
Perhaps this person doesn’t even know that you want something good for him or her. That's just fine! They don’t need to know - in fact, it’s fun just holding that hope in your heart. Imagine if our world was filled with people wishing good things for others!
Gratitude Challenge: Think of someone whom you do not know - perhaps someone you’ve read about or learned about on the news. What hope can you give this person? What kindness or joy do you wish for this person?