November 26, 2008

Well, here it is the day before Thanksgiving and I am inspired to write a little note here about gratitude. Hum, how fitting is that?! What inspired me were two gifts … 1) a simple, heart opening email from a friend about what she is grateful for and 2) this beautiful photo from an amazing past client who beautifully expressed her truth about gratitude through this photo. She was grateful to be up early enough to see this magnificent sunrise, which she shared during one of our daily BLISScipline AIM ( community calls.

Photo by Deb Wandler

Photo by Deb Wandler, who graciously shared this beautiful photo with me.

This truly represents gratitude to me. The idea that we stop and just appreciate the simple things … what we ‘get’ to do, the simple things that ARE here in our lives, the people, situations and opportunities that are all around us. The more we take a breath and stop for just a second to appreciate ALL that is here, the more we will move into that soft space of appreciation and then relax into that open space of love.

When I received the email and the photo I felt such appreciation. Then I felt love. Love for a dear friend, love for both women who were willing to share their truth, and love for this photo! I experienced a softening and a opening within myself from these two gifts. As Marianne Williamson says in A Return to Love, “The world changes when we change. The world softens when we soften. The world loves us when we chose to love the world.”

How might you appreciate what is in your life today? What are all the things, people, situations, etc. that you are grateful for? How does it feel inside of you when you really let in that gratitude?


Over the years I’ve found that the most amazing things are revealed when I  spend time with ME! Yes, I really do enjoy spending time with myself. And, I am not talking about a few minutes or hours on a weekend. I am talking about days on end where my only focus is on what I feel like doing and asking myself,  “How do I really want to spend my time right now?” The answers are usually something like …  taking a nap, going on a hike, reading a book, sitting quietly and staring at a tree or the ocean, or writing in my journal.

Each year I schedule time for myself before I host my annual Ocean Retreat for Women.  This year I took a long drive … 9 hours  … luckily the price of gas came down a bit … to my first stop, then 3 more hours to a retreat center in the redwoods of California where I stayed for many days (part of which include a transformational workshop with a wonderful teacher and a brief visit with a dear friend). The long drive back was broken up with a beautiful stop at my sisters place for a few days.

My first stop on the way to the retreat center was at my Grandma’s. She is an important part of my life and we’ve been very close since my childhood. As such a significant person in my life, she provides a very powerful mirror for me to look into and see the WHOLE of my being. By just being around her I became aware of some of my ways of interacting with others …The light and the dark; the beautiful and the ‘not so pretty’. It provided me with fertile soil to dig into over the coming days on my retreat. I returned home with a fresh perspective and clear ideas of how I wanted to move forward in my life.

In taking this time for myself I was reminded of the deep value gained by spending quiet, dedicated time for myself away from all responsibilities and daily tasks.
The value that I have gained from my retreat this year is appreciation of gratitude and connection. The value of true gratitude  … not just on a surface level but a deep feeling of gratitude for my life as it is today, for all that is in my life, all aspects of it. Seeing the beauty and gifts even within the struggles. When I mention connection, I mean to all of life and to my deeper sense of self.

Every year is different, and this year I really feel like what I got overall was a DEEPENING:
A deepening of gratitude.
A deepening of my knowledge of myself and my current struggles.
A deepening of my perspective on my life – where it is now and where I am going. A deepening of my vision for my life.

This deepening for me is a clarity of my vision; clarity of my goals; clarity of my priorities. It is also a feeling deep within my bones. A deep knowing of who I am, right now. And an honesty with myself. That who I am changes. I am dynamic. I change sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes in drastic ways. And I honor myself through it all as I honor my connection to all things.

Through all of this, I am reminded of my vision, years ago, of being called to offer this time to other women … to hold Ocean Retreats for Women.
I am reminded of how deeply this vision and the value of this still holds true today. What an honor it is to share my learning and growth with others and hold the space for others to do their own inner work.

Thank you,
Rena Hatch, MS, RYT
ICF Certified Life Coach