A Grateful Heart Illuminates Your Path

Divine Within

On our path to living a meaningful and authentic life, we develop skills that help us cultivate resilience, compassion, and love for ourselves and for everyone we encounter. Gratitude is a key catalyst to living from our heart. If we can see our experiences through the eyes of gratitude, our entire experience takes on a new meaning and our heart opens.

I believe that it is important to acknowledge the many things that we are grateful for on a daily basis. For example, a gratitude jar is a wonderful idea to create and write down simple things, people or experiences that we are grateful for each day and put it in the jar. This is a powerful activity to do with children too. Another suggestion is keeping a gratitude journal and writing down three things we are grateful for every night before bed. By bringing our attention to what we are thankful for and consciously acknowledging it by writing it down or telling a person, we are strengthening our capacity to love and allowing our hearts to be full.

Living whole-heartedly is what each and every one of us is seeking whether we realize it or not.

I would like to use my blog as my gratitude journal today to express what has filled my heart with so much love and appreciation. I am forever grateful for my best friend, Natalie. We have been friends since we were 10 years old. We grew up in the same town, went to the same elementary school, and shared the same friends. Although we attended different high schools and colleges, our friendship only grew stronger. We lived together after college and have shared so many fun and meaningful times together. I truly consider her part of my family and I am part of hers.

Even though we live in different states now, we have a bond that goes beyond physical distance. Natalie recently came on vacation with me, my husband and kids to Puerto Rico. I am so grateful for the time we spent together laughing, crying, walking on the beach, and playing with the kids. She continually manages to see the beauty in the little things. Whether it was drinking coconut water from the coconuts she found with my son or using mud for face paint on my daughter, Natalie is always up for a good time. There isn’t anything more meaningful to me than connecting with someone that I feel so free to be myself around.

Natalie is currently dealing with an unimaginable tragedy. Her beloved husband recently passed away after a challenging struggle with cancer. In the middle of the most difficult period of her life, Natalie is finding her strength and navigating her way through the storm. She is truly one of the most courageous people I know. Instead of being filled with anger, resentment, or blame, she is full of gratitude. She is grateful for the love that she and Jimmy shared. No matter how painful this period is, the relationship she had with Jimmy was worth every second. Natalie has developed a trust in life.

Even among the unimaginable, she knows there is a plan and she has been given an opportunity to grow and thrive. She is healing and knows when to be alone and when to reach out. Natalie is meeting her fears with kindness and is committed to living a meaningful life. I am in awe of her strength.

So today I want celebrate my best friend and the gift she is to me. I want everyone to know that she is one of a kind. There are many people that come and go in our lives. Natalie and I are meant to go through this lifetime together. We are there for each other to laugh and make fools of ourselves and we are there for each other to cry and walk through the muck together.

Do you have someone in your life that has inspired, uplifted, or helped you along the way? Reach out to them and let them know. Let the gratitude fill your heart and theirs.

We always have a choice as to how we perceive life experiences. If we choose gratitude, we will always win no matter the outcome. Through the practice of gratitude, we can incline our mind toward opening our heart.

What challenge may you be facing that you could try to see through the eyes of gratitude? If it is difficult to do so, just be willing to see it differently and ask/pray for guidance. You will find that a grateful heart illuminates your path through life.

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Mindfulness is a limitless tool for self-discovery. It is an experiential process, meaning that you cannot just read about mindfulness to understand the process and receive its benefits. You actually have to practice and develop the skill to be present.


-- Amanda Votto

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