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Gratitude? Gratitude.

Hip Hip Hooray

My yoga teacher, Jane, harps and harps on gratitude. Got something good going on? Show gratitude! Got something bad going on? Show gratitude! And she’s always trying to open our hips because “open hips = happy heart.” And a happy heart is a grateful one.

One day, after a very stretchy sequence to eke open our hips more! more! more!, Jane closed our practice with this quote during savasana:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns

  • denial into acceptance
  • chaos into order
  • confusion into clarity
  • problems into gifts
  • failures into success
  • the unexpected into perfect timing
  • and mistakes into important events

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

— Melody Beattie

I practically wept on the mat.

The Dance of Duality

My journey thus far flashed before my eyes.  My empty arms and longing heart gave way to my fantastically full home — basketballs, extra laundry, teddy bears and the two children who leave those things all over. My very dark days where I nearly lost the will to live were juxtaposed with the brilliant light I found in the infertility blogging community. My sickly, failure of a body has evolved into something I love, both in the way it looks and all it can do. Even the recent chaos presented to me is balanced by the calm stillness I find when I draw in my attention solely to  the space on my mat.

In my mind’s eye were a thousand tao symbols, each one symbolizing duality dancing into unity.

  • Day + night = a day.
  • Good + evil = a human.
  • Broken + forgiveness = wholeness.
  • Infertile + superfertile  = open adoption.
  • Self-loathing + self love = me.

It was bliss. And I was grateful, for every single thread in the tapestry that is my life.

Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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36 Responses

  1. This post is one of my new favorites. It is especially comforting and uplifting to me today, and I know I’ll come back to it in the future. Thank you so much Lori.

  2. I love this post!! Very moving and thought provoking …. and a good reminder to give thanks for what I have rather than focusing on what I don’t. Thanks for this!

  3. I practically wept on my laptop. You have a gorgeous soul and I’m so glad to have found a place where I can melt away all my insecurities and feel one with this community. Thank you Lori!

  4. I’m awake at this hour because of frustration and depression and anxiety. Soon I will fall asleep – with thoughts of gratitude and a smile. Thanks for this post.

  5. I really needed to read this today. I have such admiration for you Lori, and I’m glad you have it for yourself, too! You really should. I’m definitely going to copy the quote for future inspiration.

  6. Thank you for this today Lori. I really needed to read it. I am in a sort of post-move/new home/unpacking and overwhelmed with what to do next funk… At moments like this it really helps to be reminded of just how much we (and I) have to be grateful for in our lives. Love the quote that you shared from your yoga teacher.

    Over the past month I have not made time for formal exercise (aerobics or yoga) and miss all that working out regularly brings to my mind, body and soul. I know I need to prioritize getting back on the wagon ASAP, as I know it always helps me out of these funks. Thanks again for sharing! I count you as one of the many things/people that I am grateful for in my life. xoxo

  7. I have copied that saying and hung it here in my cubicle, to remind me, to assure, to make it clear….this was just stunningly beautiful and I am SO GRATEFUL you wrote it and then shared it with us. My heart just opened with joy at the thought of what good things might be coming if I am just grateful.

  8. Thank you for this. I found you via a Kir tweet. I have two openly adopted boys as well. One of them is facing an illness that we’re just beginning to learn about. I was struggling with feeling overwhelmed. I need this. I needed to feel grateful. Thank you.

  9. I loved this post and I’m trying to decide what I should say here, as I’m thinking of writing a blog post about gratitude myself. I was really taken by that quote. I’m trying to decide what I think of it. Can gratitude really do that much? Probably it can.

    I’ve been trying to infuse my own life with gratitude but I’ve noticed a rather disturbing trend. I find that I seek gratitude when I’m feeling envious of someone else’s life and I can feel grateful for what I have only (or most easily) when I think of those who have less than I. Like when I’m frustrated that I have to share one washer/dryer with 8 units and pay $5 to do a load when everyone I know has laundry in their house, I only feel better if I think of all the people who share kitchens and bathrooms and other stuff with other families, or who don’t have laundry machines at all! Then I feel grateful for what I have. That probably isn’t the best way to be grateful, huh? I’m going to delve more deeply into this in my post.

    But I loved your post. I loved that you can look back on all the suffering in your life and feel grateful for what you’ve been through and what you have. That is truly a blessing. Gratitude is a wonderful thing.

    Thanks for getting me thinking yet again.

  10. “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ”

    I love the post. Your Yoga teacher is very wise.

  11. Beautiful post, Lori. I’m grateful for having you as a friend. To think, I was first drawn to you by your animated avatar on twitter. This comes full circle.

    And, ‘open hips = happy heart?’ Hmm, was that written by a man? 🙂

  12. I LOVED the quote about gratitude and have copied it into my file of great quotes to read for the yoga classes I teach. What a great reminder to be grateful.

    I’ve been finding myself near tears (in a good way) more and more often, as I realize that “this” (right now) is a wonderful moment to be alive. Right here. Right now. And when the realization hits, that’s when the emotions of gratitude (and sometimes the tears) arise.

    I am so very grateful for my life and for all of my blessings. Thanks for the reminder.

  13. What a beautiful post. I love these lessons. And I love how you equaled out the good with the bad, thus achieving understanding and gratitude. That’s my kind of math 😉

  14. A group of friends recently challenged each other to go a full 24 hours without uttering a single complaint. All I can think about is how thankful I am to be alive and the friendships that I have built in my lifetime.

  15. I am a lay minister in my congregation, and I am invited to speak Sunday on gratitude. I already decided to talk about gratitude for challenges, but I haven’t thought it through as much as your yoga teacher has. Thanks for your well-timed post!

  16. What a beautiful story! Going through my own daughter’s struggles with infertility and then the blessing of having her twins I fully understand that gratitude. God bless you and your family!

  17. Hi Lori! What a lovely way of viewing the power of gratitude. Your yoga teacher is very wise to keep reminding you of something I think all of our hearts know deep down. And I LOVE your mathematical equations. So very true. ~Kathy

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