By Jashley Boatwright, LPC-AT, ATR-BC
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.” ~Desmond Tutu
As I reflect on the year of 2020, there are a few roaring highs and an overabundance of challenging valleys, but also shining examples of being able to overcome that which seems impossible. It has been a time for many that has been shaded with darkness, isolation, insurmountable stress, loss of employment, overwhelming anxiety, broken relationships… and the list continues on. My message to you, followers of the Art Station, and clients is that you are not alone in this fight. We are still “better together” even when we must social distance and find new ways of connecting. Unfortunately, connection is not the same as before and is often harder to come by.
Yet, in this season of pivoting and change, there is hope right now, even in this very moment. Even in the darkest of seasons, we can find ways to be present in the struggle and notice that hope and thanksgiving can exist in the thick of it.
Just as comparison is the thief of joy, gratitude is a purveyor of joy and hope. And in seasons of despair and separation, we must look to the small, everyday things around us to remind us of thankfulness. A practice of gratitude every morning has opened my eyes to the gifts all around me…the luminous sun rays shining through my window, electricity in my house, a hug from my husband, the wonder of the little caterpillar inching towards the next flower, the warmth of my tea, the letter in the mail from my best friend, the brilliant vibrancy of the changing leaves… My heart swells with joy as I am reminded of these gifts. The exciting part is that we are meant to share in these gifts with others. Just writing out what I’m thankful for in this blog knowing that you would be reading it right now warms my heart. It brings hope to the present and joy when I think about all of the tomorrows.
A simple, reflective practice of gratitude:
First, make a list of 5 things and 5 people that you are grateful for. Take 5 deep breaths, in and out. Let the weight of thankfulness sweep over you as you ponder deeply over what and who you are grateful for. Embrace this gratitude as you take another 5 slow, deep breaths.
Next, if you have colored pencils, markers, or watercolors, choose 5 colors that signify your gratitude and doodle, color, or paint around each word taking your time to savor each stroke and each additional color. Take your time, no rush. When finished take another 5 deep breaths and verbally express each item on your list.
To further increase your gratitude and foster connection, call a dear friend or family member, share with them what you are thankful for and encourage them to do this activity. #gratitudethegiftthatkeepsgiving