Heather Hansen

Go Beyond Gratitude to Celebration

I write this on the day after Christmas, so naturally I’m thinking about gratitude. I’ve never said this out loud before, but I have a love/hate relationship with gratitude. I am so grateful for the things in my life that being grateful actually scares me. Will my luck run out? There was a time that I tried out a gratitude journal, but with every thing I wrote down I started to worry that I had too much, that I was too lucky.  I have my health and others don’t–would I get sick? My family is also healthy–who was I to have that when others don’t? Money, clothes, shelter, laughter and reasons to laugh–I had them all. And it felt like too much. The depth of my gratitude scared me. Sometimes it still does, and even writing this makes me nervous.

But a few years ago I spent New Year’s Eve at a spa, and I told a woman there about my fear. (She was reading my aura. It’s that kind of place). And when I said, in tears, that I was afraid of my luck running out, she shook her head with a smile.

“You’re not lucky. You’re blessed.”

She was right. And with that shift, I realized I had a job to do. The root of the word blessing is the Latin “benedicere”–to praise. It wasn’t enough to be grateful, and being afraid of loss certainly wouldn’t do. I had to learn to give praise. Count my blessings, and then celebrate them. 

This makes me feel less afraid of my luck running out. Because there is always something to celebrate, even at those times when we feel like luck has passed us by. A hot cup of coffee. The smile of a stranger. The stars, the wind and the sun. The sound of laughter, or of the waves. Find one thing to celebrate, and the list tends to grow. Some say it’s science–the law of attraction at work.  My grandfather used to quote the poem Solitude by Ellen Wheeler Wilcox   “Laugh and the world laughs with you.” In my experience that is certainly true. So this year I’m going to laugh, celebrate, and praise even more. I’m going fill up on praise so there is less room for fear.

Don’t be afraid to go beyond gratitude to celebration. Give praise.  Find one thing to celebrate and others want to join the party. Wishing you every blessing in 2019!

Heather Hansen

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