I read a post from an old acquaintance, a brilliant artist, sharing about her stage 4 breast cancer journey. Much about the telling was moving and fierce but there was one part that I can’t stop thinking about.

A yoga practitioner for over 30 years, she spoke about the first sun salutation she was able to do after months of grueling treatments and surgery. (Turns out it wasnโ€™t such a good idea and it set her back in her healing but sheโ€™s recovering.)

I imagined the grief of being unable to move my body the way I want to. Not being able to raise my hands high over my head, lower my chest to the ground and arch my back like a cobra. Not feeling my perfectly imperfect breasts rise and fall with my undulating breath.

The heartbreak of it was such a wake-up call.

Yes, it truly sucks not being able to go to my favorite yoga studio anymore and take classes with my community there. But I can see how complaining about that has been my excuse for my own inconsistent home practice, a way to justify my procrastination, feeding the whiner in me while starving my warrior. Talk about some privilege.

So I got up the next morning and did my sun salutations. I heard a voice inside that said, “If you can, you must.” I did them as a prayer for my courageous friend. I did them as an offering of gratitude for my capable, healthy, cancer-free body.

As difficult this year has been (pandemic, racism, political insanity, poverty, climate and environmental disasters), it feels important to remember that for so many people, these collective issues might only be the tip of their particular iceberg.

Given the year that weโ€™ve had (and itโ€™s not over yet), doubling down on gratitude is more important than ever. Because gratitude is one of the best antidotes to anxiety and depression that we have.

By the way, this isn’t just a woo-woo idea anymore; itโ€™s science these days. Per Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School:

“In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

I talk a lot about shifting from pressure to pleasure as your ultimate renewable power source as a woman. Pressure often comes when we focus on lack, not enough, and reaching outside ourselves for solutions. Pleasure arises from trusting in the present moment, attuning to your bodyโ€™s senses, aligning with your own guidance, your Shakti.

Gratitude is Shakti.

The season of thanksgiving is here to remind us of our (hopefully) every day practice of appreciating the little and big things.

๐Ÿ A great time to acknowledging your blessings is in that liminal, highly influential space upon waking in the morning and drifting off to sleep at night.

๐Ÿ If you like to write, start a daily gratitude journal.

๐Ÿ Say your version of “grace” before a meal with yourself, partner or family.

๐Ÿ Make a habit of calling a friend once a week to simply tell them all the reasons why you appreciate them. Wouldn’t we all like to get a call like that?

๐Ÿ For extra credit, give gratitude to the Mother of us All, for the great mystery and all that we donโ€™t understand, for the opportunities disguised as loss.

I am so grateful to be walking this path with you, for the gift of being in communication with you. Thank you.

With so much love in this season of thanksgiving,

Lisa Schrader