The Gratitude Challenge

I’m a huge proponent of throwing my thoughts, feelings, and general musings into a journal while I drink my morning coffee. I went through a rough period upon moving to Dallas in late 2011, and one of my New Years resolutions was to make it a priority to list three things I’m grateful for each day. I’m happy to report that it’s probably the only resolution I’ve ever stuck with.

It’s changed my life.

I find that that the practice forces me to be more positive. To be more insightful. Yes, there are days that I report I’m grateful for tacos and puppies (duh), but it also helps me to acknowledge that good can be found in the most challenging situations.

For example: This year I learned from two miserably failing romantic relationships that (1) If people want to be with you, they will find a way. They will overcome extreme obstacles and challenges to be by your side – if only for a weekend; and (2) It doesn’t have to be a battle of who cares less. If you feel the pull of connection and you want to be with someone, it’s okay to say “I want you, and no one else.” Even if it’s two weeks into the relationship. Those are two pretty fucking incredible lessons to draw from something that didn’t work out the way you wanted. And for that, I’ll be eternally grateful.

At the beginning of November, my Little Rock yogi loves hopped on board for Kino MacGregor and Kerri Verna‘s Gratitude Challenge, so I decided to give it a shot. The challenge was designed to be all about gratitude leading up to the Thanksgiving Holiday. To participate you had to share your practice of the challenge pose that day (or any pose ) and write something that you are grateful for. Daily reflection of gratitude can change your life!

Some days I felt inspired. Some days my gratitude was less profound. Here are the things I was grateful over the past month. Check out my Instagram for the yoga pose images.

 

NOV 1 – My stance could be wider. My hips could be more squared. It. Doesn’t. Matter. I’m grateful for the space yoga creates to explore my practice authentically + unapologetically. My asanas aren’t always perfect, and my life isn’t perfect. We have bad days + better days. And that’s okay. Keep it real.

NOV 2 – I am super grateful for my juicer. It’s nearly impossible to find fresh juice w/o added sugars and preservatives that isn’t obscenely overpriced. Plus, my eyes are far larger than my tummy and I often come home with ALL OF THE PRODUCE. Juicing is a great way to use up veggies, fruits, and herbs that you won’t be able to eat before they go bad. Get creative!

NOV 3 – Connection. Arguably the most wonderful, exciting, juicy part of the human existence. Today I’m feeling grateful for human connection. Those who have touched my life in both large + small ways, helping to shape who I am as a person.

NOV 4 – I’m grateful for time off. It’s been a really long time since I’ve scheduled a day without any plans. There’s something liberating about having no idea where the day will take you. We ended up at the park, walking the largest pedestrian bridge in North America, making delicious juice concoctions, and dinner with friends.

NOV 5 – Yesterday was the first fall-feeling day. Leaves changing colors, hoodies, scarves + boots, warm sunny days + cool snuggly nights, soup, tea, cinnamon, + spices… that was the thing I missed most while living in Texas. Autumn is finally here! Super grateful for the change of seasons.

NOV 6 – I’m grateful to have the privilege of teaching ballet + yoga as my full time job. There are days it’s tougher to get out of bed + roll to the studio than others, but even my worst days at work are good days. I cannot think of a greater gift than to get to do what I love every single day. I still can’t believe to get paid to do this!

NOV 7 – Confession: I’m not looking forward to voting tomorrow. I’ve been a master procrastinator, missed early voting, and the thought of standing in line half of the afternoon makes me cringe. However, I am exceptionally grateful that I have the privilege and opportunity to contribute. Despite the less than optimal choices, I like living in a place where I’m encouraged to participate be heard. Your vote counts. My vote counts. That’s a really special thing.

NOV 8 – Each Tuesday I teach a two-year-old ballet class. The group is mixed race + gender. Yesterday, each child ran into my arms with a giant hug and a smile. That is my job. To teach love. To teach kindness, compassion, and acceptance. My job is to create a safe space that allows others the freedom to learn, move, and to be themselves while feeling strong, smart, confident, and important. Ballet + yoga are about so much more than movement. I am  grateful to begin the teaching day with my baby class. They gave me perspective + reminded me that my job is to put more love out into the world. It’s your job too. We need so much love right now. Love. Love. Love.

NOV 9 – I am grateful that the election is over.

NOV 10 – I’m grateful to live alone. In the yoga/dance education profession you’ve always got to be “on” at work. It doesn’t matter how your day is going, how you’re feeling, or whether or not you slept last night. This week has been especially challenging because student emotions have run rampant. There isn’t any room for how I feel. Walking into an empty house (aside from Mr. Darcy) has allowed space for decompression, time to process, and allowed distance so that I can rest + recharge. Also, I can roam around naked if I want.

NOV 11 – Grateful to get sweaty. Sometimes the best medicine is to get moving, heart pumping, endorphins flowing.

NOV 12 – I’m grateful for literature. Books are one of my favorite ways to get lost.

NOV 13 – Super grateful for all my soul twins out there. The people who just get it. Instant connection, mutual gravitational pull, insight, laughter, love, support. You make this life bright even at the darkest times. Thanking for sharing your light with me.

NOV 14 – Today I am grateful for rituals. Daily routines become meaningful moments when you pay attention to the details. Each morning upon waking I boil water for the French press, walk puppy while downtown is still asleep, and then stand in the kitchen with my journal while drinking dark roast w/ honey + coconut milk as Mr. Darcy snoozes in the other room on my bed. I’m not sure why I stand, but I do. I’m not sure why this ritual is comforting, but it is.

NOV 15 – This morning I woke up with super sore obliques after some inventive core exercises I lead in class yesterday. It reminded me how grateful for I am for movement. The miracle of muscles, bones, and neural impulses working together to literally carry you through this world at will. Growing up with a quadriplegic sister, I’ve been acutely aware that controlled movement is a gift. Sore abs after a hard workout, exhausted legs after a long bike ride or hike… it’s not something to complain about. It’s magic, you guys.

NOV 16 – I’m grateful for friends. The super close sibling kinds, the ones you talk to every six months, the ones who live down the hall, and the ones who reside across an ocean, and even the ones I’ve met through IG, but have yet to see in person. You push me to be better, pull me out of my slumps, make me laugh, cry, sing, dance, and look at the world in ways I’d never imagined. Thank you for sharing your gifts, insight, light, love, and radiance. You inspire me.

NOV 17 – Today I am grateful for my struggles. Without them, I might not be aware of my strength.

NOV 18 – I’m pretty big on self practice, but tonight I was reminded how grateful I am to have workout buddies. Hanging, bonding, sweating, moving + encouraging each other to commit to our health. It’s pretty sweet stuff. Thanks to @breezyosborne for leading Friday night practice + @toddbrinkley + @nicole_french for sandwiching me with your good vibes! 

NOV 19 – Grateful for a solo date night. Fuzzy pjs, hair in a jumbled bun fluff, hot water w/ mint leaves + silly, feel good movie binge.

NOV 20 – Today I’m grateful (honored, humbled, thrilled, etc.) that I was invited to lead the warm-up for Little Rock’s Girls on the Run 5k. Few things feel as good as giving back, putting more positivity energy into the world, and empowering little women in creative, active, and healthy ways.

NOV 21 – Today, and everyday, I am grateful for my sassy, stumpy-tailed life partner @mrdarcypup. I love him to the moon + back (even though I threaten to send his terrorist puppy self to the pound sometimes). 

NOV 22 – Today I’m grateful for people who cook for me. Because surf + turf.

NOV 23 – I am grateful for physical touch. Reassuring squeezes of the hand, celebratory high fives, supportive hugs, passionate embraces, therapeutic massages, thoughtful adjustments. Human touch can can be healing, and can often convey what words can’t.

NOV 24 – Over the past month I’ve picked a specific thing each day that I’m grateful for. And today? I’m grateful for life. To breathe air into my lungs, to open my eyes and see the world around me, to hear each note of songs + laughs. To be alive is such an extraordinary gift. Happy Thanksgiving, my loves.

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