A journey from trauma to authenticity
Gratitude – the Pathway to Joy, Abundance and Love
Gratitude – the Pathway to Joy, Abundance and Love

Gratitude – the Pathway to Joy, Abundance and Love


It can feel counter-intuitive to practice gratitude during times of loss, suffering and change. It can be hard to be thankful when we are sitting in darkness. And yet, gratitude is the pathway to joy, the gateway to abundance and Love.

When we feel sorrow, fear and anguish, it can be paralysing. Whispering a “thank you” can start to relax the muscles that have formed a rigid cage to protect us. That pause, that courage, to be thankful in the face of agony, can unlock the realisation that we have within us the resources we need to take the next step into the future. Gratitude allows us to free-fall, trusting that ultimately Love will sustain us.

As I sat watching the sunset evening after evening, letting go of the past, and grieving the losses, I found I was able to include in the sorrow and anger also whispers of gratitude. I could say thank you for the people I had had the privilege to spend my time with. I was grateful for the projects I had been able to complete. I received the appreciation of those I had helped in some way.

In deconstruction, I was able to be thankful for the blessings I had experienced in my faith community. In bereavement, such waves of gratitude washed over me for the dear one who had gone, even amongst the anguish. When sitting with the fall-out of childhood trauma, thanksgiving for the present moment rooted me in hope.

Thankfulness embraced and adorned the blackness of the sorrow and loss. It did not shrink it. But it allowed light to shine around and through it. It enabled me to expand and grow, to embrace the heartbreak. It gave chinks of hope, and a sense of peace as I expressed my faith in the enduring power of Love.

I discovered the importance of both giving and receiving gratitude.

You might be surprised how many folk experience moments in their lives when they wish they were not here, were not alive, did not have to live another day. It is my privilege as a doctor, to hold space for people to be able to express these thoughts out loud. There are those who habitually tune out, disappear, or dissociate, following terrible traumas in their lives. Others literally struggle to get out of bed and face another day. Depression and anxiety can be paralysing.

To you we bestow our gratitude. Thank you for being with us, among us and blessing us with your presence. We are so thankful for you. Allow us to hold you, as you find gratitude for the wild and precious gift of life once again.
Together, let’s enter into thankfulness.

Saying thank you with flowers

This week’s invitation is to find some wild flowers, or perhaps some stones on your local beach. Gather a few, make an arrangement, or paint the stones. As you do this, you are invited to think of the things you are grateful for. What do you want to give thanks for in the present moment?

The following questions might bring to mind things you would not normally be grateful for, or help reframe more negative thoughts.

• All too often we take things for granted. I recently had a trip back to Ecuador, and again experienced the daily lack of running water, lack of security, sweat and dirt. Yet, I was struck by the happiness of the people, who despite their physical poverty, or perhaps because of it, appreciated the meals they ate, time with friends and family, and fun and laughter, in a way I had forgotten in the midst of Western consumerism and entitlement. What ordinary gifts can you appreciate and give thanks for today?

• When daily chores and tasks feel mundane, we can recognise their meaning through gratitude. For example, when washing the clothes, I can give thanks that my family and I have clothes to wear and keep us warm. What mundane activities can you reframe with gratitude?

• What or who have you lost, that you can give thanks for?

• Are there things you have learnt through hard times that you can give thanks for?

Whenever you see your flowers, or stones this week, or perhaps gift them to someone else, give thanks.

receive this season as a gift

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