I have one morning habit that is pretty consistent in my life.
But just before I graciously drink my first cup, I have another morning habit that has been life changing for me.
This habit is not something to do but rather something to think.
I smile. Look out the early morning sky and repeat …
Thank you for this day.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for another chance to get it right.
Rather than wake up and start thinking about ALL THE THINGS we need to do and have to do — and begin a day of lack and not enough — I choose to surrender to just being a mother, and a wife and a woman living fully.
We get so caught up in busy. And doing.
We forget that we’re here, living and breathing and getting another chance to get being human right.
Oh, yes … another chance to get it right.
This one morning habit has become a rock for me to start my day.
In my work with women around the world, we spend a lot of time focused on gratitude and how it is the foundation of abundance. And while I tend to spend most of my time focused on gratitude journaling in the evening, I know the power of tapping into it first thing in the morning as well.
And as I teach the Abundant Mama Way to more and more women, I see firsthand how this practice of gratitude and abundance is truly transforming their anger into JOY.
Gratitude can truly shift our perspective of motherhood and life in many ways.
And it can sweep away any ounce of anger that we carry inside … over just about anything.
Why is Gratitude So Challenging?
When I work with women for the first time in The Abundant Mama Project, I hear many common themes in their first-day introductions.
- I want to be more present.
- I want to love this life more.
- I want to feel good enough.
- I want to accept what I have and stop wishing for something more.
- I want to be more patient and calm. I want to be kinder and more empathetic.
All of these goals that modern mothers have — on top of the very long to-do list — are heartfelt and real and powerful.
But they are nearly impossible to do when you live in the Land of Bitter and Sour — the land of never feeling like you’re enough, or that you have enough, or that you do enough.
When we are filled with resentment and stay focused on what we don’t have … we can’t see the forest through the trees when it comes to being grateful.
Of course, it’s easy to feel resentful in modern motherhood.
- Many of us often give way more than we take.
- Many of us feel isolated in our family circumstances — and even feel forgotten.
- Many of us have very little time to sit and be quiet enough to feel the gratitude within.
- Many of us are highly sensitive to the world around us, making life feel harder and more anxious.
- Many of us are flooded with images and information that is telling us to be better, do more and try harder.
No “30-Day Gratitude Challenge” will ever change your heart until you are ready to shift your perspective — forever.
And when this layer upon layer of resentment builds up we take this out on our family members and those who love us most — by being distracted, unkind, angry and even depressed.
This is why in the Abundant Mama Project we take the first full week to really dig deep into why we are feeling so resentful and create a personal plan to rise above it.
Understanding WHY we feel the way we do is so crucial to tackling it and releasing it — so that it doesn’t return.
The Highest Purpose of Gratitude
The ultimate goal for gratitude, though, is surrender.
Surrender to the life we have, the body we have, the family we have, the house we have, the support system we have — or don’t have — and the choices we’ve made.
This total surrender creates something we all want … joy.
As one Abundant Mama alumni said recently … “(The Abundant Mama Online Program) helped me give myself the grace I desperately needed and find the joy that had been a waning ember. Now my joy is a raging inferno.”
Don’t get me wrong. Life hands us really challenging situations sometimes.
And joy — and gratitude – are not always possible. But we can almost always find sparks of abundance and joy in other areas of our lives when we start seeing life with new eyes.
How to Find Gratitude in the Hardest Times
When we find ourselves in a place of conflict, challenge or negativity … the kindest thing we can do for ourselves is to remember to be kind to ourselves.
I always tell my Abundant Mamas to be gentle with themselves.
- Kids not sleeping all night? Be gentle.
- Partner lost their job? Be gentle.
- Grieving? Be Gentle.
And when we’re gentle, we’re more receptive to gratitude. We can find gratitude in our gentleness and self-compassion.
We aren’t perfect. We aren’t superwomen. We aren’t going to master all the things, all the time. We aren’t going to be happy all day no matter how many times someone tells us to be positive.
But we are here. Doing our best. Showing up. Loving fiercely and imperfectly.
And while we know we MUST be grateful for what we have … it’s OK to be kind to ourselves for wanting more, for wanting the best for ourselves, our children and our family.
It’s OK to be really angry at the lack of help you had or the lack of love you felt.
It’s OK to desire. To crave. To wish. To dream. To live with your head in the clouds a bit.
And it’s perfectly OK to let your mind wander and roam and be go where it needs to go to be happy and joyful and find hope.
Acknowledging the feeling is the first step on the path to being an Abundant Mama.
And moving forward to find that place of gratitude and saying, “YES, THIS” … is the second step.
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