Living with daily chronic pain is a struggle. However adding in all the seasonal festivities, gatherings, food, family, and traveling -- plus our own self-expectations can raise our emotional and physical pain to new levels.
I think the hardest thing during the holidays for me, besides the usual issues of pacing myself and feeling frustrated at how my pain limits my activities - is to stop being negative and acknowledge my life is full of blessings. This year I want to experience the holidays differently. I want to see and feel joy every day. It's often hard to look outside ourselves, so I am making a promise to not just ‘count’ my blessings but to literally 'see' them.
I'm going to take at least one photo of something I’m grateful for every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day and create a keep a Gratitude Album. I've never kept a gratitude journal before, and I think that since I am a visually creative person, photographs will resonate even more with me. I believe I need to tangibly acknowledge God is in my life, in my new city, in my new church, in our first home, the first time away from family.
I’m starting my Gratitude Album right now, with a photo below of an incredible sunset I took a couple days ago while standing on my front porch. The incredible intensity of color, the unusual cloud patterns, and the brilliant light all make me grateful for the beauty of the evening sky. Even though my pain tends to be higher at that time of the day, I can’t deny I was captivated beyond myself when I watched that amazing light show. (I’m also grateful for all my blog followers!)
I challenge you to keep a Gratitude Journal or Album yourself this holiday season. I hope that we will all find a deeper appreciation for what we have, who we are, and all that is around us despite our pain and difficulties in life.
Happy Thanksgiving & Blessings to All,
|Sunset in the Las Vegas sky from my front porch.|