Look back, for a moment, on the times that shaped you the most. Was it the days you were stagnant and still? The mornings you woke and followed the same patterns, same routines? The nights you fell asleep with no real ambitions, just ready to move into a new day? To do the same thing, be the same person you were yesterday?
Or was it the times that your foundation was completely rocked? The days riddled with chaos and questions? The mornings you weren’t quite sure where to go next, what path to follow, or even who you were? The nights you lost your sense of purpose and identity, and so began wildly searching for a new place, a new home, a new road?
Was it the painful moments, the struggles, the challenges that truly brought you to the place you are now?
I’m guilty of always rushing to the next thing. Even in the stillness of morning, sometimes I can’t help but think about the rest of the day spanning out in front of me and all that I have to do. I’ll be silent for a moment, raise my warm cup of tea to my lips and take a deep breath. But then I’ll spin into the next stream of thoughts, never really taking the time to rest in what is. This is something I’ve been working on—living in gratitude, slowing down—because when I do, it brings such value to the spaces and people around me.
I never thought about thankfulness needing silence, needing peace. As someone who’s always ran three hundred miles an hour in the direction she wants to go, I’ve always spoken my words and prayers of gratitude in motion. Not quick or rushed, necessarily, but forever moving. Forever going, going, going.
But there is value in stillness, too. There is value in reshaping the way we react, the way we’re wired, and what feels natural, to be intentional. And wherever you are right now, whatever’s sitting on your heart, and regardless of the way you typically move—fast or slow—I hope you join me in this journey of gratitude as present. Gratitude as stillness. Gratitude right here.
Life is filled with expectations. We’re supposed to act and feel a certain way, supposed to walk a line and pursue a path that was laid out before us. We’re encouraged to chase realistic dreams, become people with occupations and goals that make sense. Along the way we’re told to be ourselves, but when we’re pulled in so many different directions sometimes it’s impossible to even know what that means.
Ultimately, though, it is not about the careers we choose or the roles we play. It’s not about how ‘quickly’ our story shifts or even the direction we go. It’s not about how long it takes to get ‘there’—to whatever ‘there’ is. What matters, in the end, is how we live and what we give.
And perhaps, above all, the greatest gift you can offer the world is your heart.
This is a letter to the man who didn’t believe he was ever good enough. For the woman who listened to the negative voices in her head and let her fear win. For the guy who let heartbreak determine his path. This is for the girl who looked at her failures and allowed them to define who she’d become.
This is for the person who’s been lost, the one who couldn’t find a direction, and was so dizzy he or she simply stood still. These words are a reminder for each and every one of us—in the moments we’ve forgotten how absolutely powerful we were, and how, despite the circumstances of this life, we still have the ability to stand, to continue, to grow.