As an activist and a yoga teacher, I have a bit of a push-pull relationship with gratitude. On one hand, I believe that gratitude is a foundation for joy, simplicity and non-grasping. On the other hand, I feel that it’s sometimes used as a vehicle for one-upping others or glossing over life’s challenges.
I much prefer it as a companion through those challenges.
Shortly after my mother was diagnosed with cancer, my friends and I began hosting Sunday night dinners. Before we ate, I would insist that everyone hold hands and say something about their gratitude. At first, people were shy, but eventually they shared deeply personal things. About the struggles, yes, but also about the light they could see through that.
Gratitude became a daily practice that I cultivated throughout my mom’s treatment, and I began writing the book on gratitude that I wished had existed. I tried and failed at writing down the three things every day for which I was grateful. I felt the friction of being grateful through a loved one’s cancer, and the lists didn’t fill me up.
When I opened my healing arts practice, I knew that gratitude would be a core theme to explore. You see, for people who are change-makers and caregivers — the people I love to work with most — gratitude can be both potent and prickly. (And for the record, I believe that everyone embodies the role of change-maker, caregiver or both at some point in their lives.)
It is a force for claiming our lives, for embracing wholeness and for pursuing liberation.
My book, Setting Gratitude Free, helps you tap into that force. There’s a workbook and action guide to explore and deepen your gratitude, but there are also practice to help you take gratitude off the page. Because gratitude works best when it’s spoken out loud.
There are also the audio version of the book, bonus thank you cards and a gratitude circle practice. These forms of expressing gratitude lend themselves to cultivating intimacy and beauty in the everyday. (Would your best friend love getting a thank you card? I’m sure she would.)
This beautiful e-book arrives via my own personal experience. This isn’t just road-tested — it lives in my body and practice. Now, I can’t be more delighted to share it with you.
If you’re interested in more heartfelt self-care inspiration, hop over to my email list. You’ll get a free copy of the Liberatory Self-Care Manifesto, and I have quite a few free gifts headed your way in September.
Christy Tennery-Spalding is a yoga teacher, activist, reiki & Thai massage practitioner, and author of Setting Gratitude Free. She works with caregivers and change-makers to develop self-care practices that are custom, intuitive & feasible.
Christy lives in Oakland, California, where she enjoys frolicking in redwoods and soaking in hot springs. She believes in people power and real self-care.
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