The leaves are falling. The turkey recipes are circulating. The mustaches are growing. And the internet is awash in NaNoWriMo and gratitude lists.
I love those lists. I enjoy reading how people are thankful for their families, their jobs and their health. I smile when I see their pictures of cooing babies or mischievous puppies. I appreciate the renewed energy that spills from accounting one’s blessings.
Those lists are beautiful.
But I also think they’re a cop-out.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good things in your life. It’s easy to summon gratitude for the people and situations that bring us joy.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s valuable to take the time to enumerate those things you appreciate.
But it’s even more valuable to find reasons to be thankful for those things which bring us pain or grief or anger.
Which leads me to my November challenge.
It doesn’t require that you forsake your razor.
Nor must you write for 30 consecutive days.
You do not even have to share your results with your Facebook feed.
But it won’t be easy.
I call it radical gratitude.
Radical because it’s intense.
But also because it has the chance of being life changing.
Identify the one person or thing or situation in your life that has caused you the most grief. The most pain. The most anger.
Find that dark hole that bleeds you.
Maybe it’s an ex. Or an abusive parent. Perhaps it’s your job or lack thereof. Possibly, you face an illness that has stripped your body or had an accident that stole your health in one fell swoop. Maybe it’s not the presence of a person, but the loss of one.
Whatever it is, identify it.
And then be grateful for it. Create a list of ten reasons that you are thankful for your biggest challenge.
You can share it – here or elsewhere – or you can keep it to yourself.
But write it. Believe in it. And then release it.
You cannot choose what happens to you, but you can always choose how you respond.
You have the power to turn your greatest challenge into your biggest blessings.
I took this challenge myself several months ago and listed ten reasons I am thankful for my ex.
And then write your own.