Thankful Thursday | Focusing on Gratitude and Helping Others

In a search for inner peace and acceptance, I’ve turned to reading more by The Dalai Lama and have stumbled upon amazing spaces online where there is an understanding of the feelings I sometimes have. It. is. possible to feel lonely in a room full of people.

Reading other’s stories, biographies are my favorite, and writing has always helped me feel less lonely in life’s journey and optimistic through the challenges. I discovered The Dalai Lama back in high school when my sister had a book by him sitting around and I borrowed (?) it (maybe she knew, maybe she didn’t – but don’t tell!).

I found his writing calming, easy to understand, and honest – perfect for my teen days. I’ve read his books from time to time and studied Buddhism, Taoism, Zen Buddhism, and other faiths over the years. Buddhism’s natural understanding, compassion, kindness, and peace resonates with me; and I don’t have to leave behind any other faith I have in the process of exploring.

A few weeks ago, I was at a bookstore and two of The Dalai Lama’s books were right up front as I walked in (on sale!). Maybe it was a sign. I bought them and have tried to read from them daily. Instantly in these short meditations, I feel a sense of peace in all aspects of life; little reminders of the bigger picture.

As I’ve bounced around the web this past week, I am thankful to have found the beautiful Project 1 in 4.

The illustrations are touching. While I don’t relate to every single one, they make sense. Knowing others (friends, roommates) who’ve battled serious depression and eating disorders in college and thereafter, I’ve learned a lot about how we all struggle in different ways and how we can cope.

The best thing for me is when I focus on gratitude, helping others and take the thought out of living inside my own worries, fears, and anxieties. I believe that’s why I feel such pleasure in my daily work; as my main focus is to be a resource, a support, a help to others in their quest for knowledge, information, or anything else they come to me with.

Helping others is what I’m -here- for.

Oftentimes though, my thoughts do take on a life of their own and I fall into a darkness where I can’t seem to climb out for some time. I hide myself away and I block out everything. I overthink, I thrash, I fight, I exhaust myself.

I’ve learned in those times, to keep making plans with others to force myself back out into the sun.

When you’ve not felt this way as others have, it’s hard to fathom why they just can’t “change their mind” and get over it. Unfortunately, if it worked like that, I think we’d have a far more peaceful world. We all struggle, some just a bit deeper than others.

I find the more I work on myself the better I get at facing the challenge ahead and bouncing back quicker each time. Expectations often don’t meet reality, and that’s hard to let go for a perfectionist and planner like myself. Hormones obviously play a huge role currently, losing the ability to run for many months (my form of therapy – run happy!), and feeling constantly unwell combined makes things far more challenging.

I’m thankful to have had a few signs in the past few weeks to direct me toward a more positive light. While this may be a difficult “season” to make it through as my friend has used that term often to describe struggles, it is just that – a season. Sure, I won’t be training for any ultra marathons any time soon, or losing weight, growing my photography business, blogging super awesome content, or achieving any personal goals, I can use this time to plan for the next season and make it the best it can be.

I’ve spent the past few days planning that next season which has given me a brighter outlook. I’ve decided on a few goals post-baby to reach for, and even if I fall short I know I’ll keep climbing just as I have before. Some goals are personal, some fitness related, and some professional. I’ll survive the season that lies ahead. I am tired of hearing it’ll be “okay” because it won’t – it isn’t – okay to me – but it will be what it is and I have to accept and move through it.

Have a nice relaxing weekend with your friends and family,

– kate –