Giving Thanks for Our Challenges in Life

Posted on November 27, 2019

The past two weeks have really made me think. I returned—fully rejuvenated—from a fabulous trip that celebrated a wedding, our children, life, love, friendships, and my childhood, only to spend the next two weeks with a heavy heart over the Saugus High School shootings in my community and the untimely death of a dear family friend. Yes, life embraces both the yin and yang—dual forces that are opposite and complementary.

With Thanksgiving at hand and feelings of gratitude in the air, I want to draw on the Wheel of Life that I use in teaching my Mindfulness Programs to express my thoughts about different aspects of my life. And in the spirit of balancing yin and yang, I want to share the challenges that have led to some life lessons. I believe that challenges push us to reach for our own goodness and our belief in ourselves. It is through our challenges that we learn to uncover our inner core strength and be grateful for all that life has to offer. So here are my challenges and my gratitude statements for my Wheel of Life:

1. Career

  • Challenge: My biggest challenge this year has been finding a marketing partner to help launch my online Mindfulness Training Programs. Though some people consider coming up with content the hardest part of a venture like this, for me that part was easy! Two programs (teacher training and parenting) are ready to go. I even have a platform picked out, but the right marketing partner has yet to show up.
  • Gratitude: The delay has pushed me to start some of the work myself. I’m digging deep into understanding social media and how to leverage it to spread the word. And I’m also super grateful for my video production partner, who is amazingly talented.

2. Friends and Family

  • Challenge: There’s no question that one (or two) family members can push you to a darker place within yourself. I’ve had a couple of challenges that have left me angry, frustrated, sad, and disappointed.
  • Gratitude: But then, thank goodness, we have family! At trying times like these it seems like a team of other family members show up to shine their light so you can find your way back to your own light and goodness. I’m even grateful to those family members who challenge me. You are my biggest teachers. It is because of you that I learn to get over myself and become clearer about my infinite potential.

3. Community

  • Challenge: The biggest challenge this year was the finalizing of the guest list for our daughter’s wedding. We’re inclusive and outgoing, so picking and choosing was, oh, so hard.
  • Gratitude: We are beyond grateful for every single friend and community member who put their life aside for four full days to come celebrate our Big Fat Indian Wedding with us! The vibration of love we felt from all of you during the wedding ceremony has been a highlight of our life. On a different note, I’m so grateful to be part of the Santa Clarita community, whose leaders, heroes, and everyday folks all came together to lift our children and each other up and to support the families who lost their children in the Saugus High shootings. The community connection was gratifying and humbling.

4. Personal Growth

  • Challenge: Personal growth is inevitably a work in progress. It’s exhausting to always have to be prepared for life lessons. My sister and daughter both say that I am the most positive person they know and that I always look at the brighter side of things  But sometimes I don’t want to be positive. Sometimes I just want to bury myself under a blanket and complain. There, I said it. It can be tiring to be open to everything in life. About 10 percent of the time I just allow myself to be there—until I get over it. My goal is to cut that down to 5 percent by my 60th birthday.
  • Gratitude: But, boy, am I grateful that having a positive perspective on life is my first nature. When I do start to complain, I’m grateful that I have tools that I can rely on to help resolve things. My desire for conflict resolution and the building of effective communication habits is endless—which is exhausting on its own and circles back as a challenge as well.

5. Health

  • Challenge: To me, health is the sum total of emotional well-being, spiritual well-being, and physical well-being. I am an advocate of living life in a mindful way; being self-aware and understanding the nature of my mind is my top priority. First and foremost, I work on myself and my own emotions. Learning and growing makes me spiritually satiated and  We all know that when we’re happy and understand human nature, we can make better connections with those we share our lives with and we are healthier. So where’s the health challenge? I want to be able to do my yoga practice, meditation, and cardio routine every day. That’s 2 to 3 hours a day! When I miss any one of the above, I have to counsel myself to not feel guilty. As much as I teach and know that each day (in fact, each moment) is different, I resist accepting this when it comes to missing my workout routines.
  • Grateful: I’m so grateful that I enjoy good health in every way. When I don’t, I’m grateful to recognize that and to be able to work my way back to it. I’m also grateful that I’m adventurous with my physical workouts. Over the last three years,  I’ve tried and loved cardio dance and spinning. Next on my list? Pilates!

What are you challenged by and grateful for in your Wheel of Life? Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect and explore this on your own. Then, if you’re ready, share it with your family.

From our Tools of Growth family, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!