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This month of Thanksgiving I have been preoccupied with gratitude. I even put "Gratitude is my Attitude" on my sign in the little bar we have in the living room. Cliche, I know. But I truly am feeling it right now.
Thankfulness and appreciation... those are words that come to mind when I think of gratitude. Loving what you have and not longing for anything to be different.
As a child, I was taught to be grateful for God's forgiveness. To be grateful that Jesus gave his life for us. As well-meaning as these religious teachings were, I once thought of gratitude as a guilt-driven emotion. Gratitude was a debt you owed for something you never asked anyone to do for you. You had to feel grateful, or you were a spoiled little brat. It was years before I understood gratitude and gratefulness fully. Probably because I simply had never felt it. Or at least the version of gratitude I was taught, wasn't what I consider true gratitude today.
I was taught "it is better to give than to receive" another oxymoron since as a child, it always seems better to receive. Once again, the guilt of not actually feeling that way gave the gratitude I felt when I did receive a tainted feel to it.
As a young adult, I sometimes found myself in situations where people thought I was ungrateful for something they had done for me. Often, I didn't understand why. I was grateful (in the actual sense of the word) and I expressed my gratitude by saying thank you, but at that time in my life, I would attract people who didn't think that was enough. I wasn't enough. I was apparently supposed to exclaim it further, and possibly also read their minds, that would have been best. So once again, guilt was associated with thankfulness. Two very clashing emotions, that normally don't have anything to do with each other. But the association made it very hard for me to understand and value the true meaning of gratitude.
When I first heard of Oprah's Gratitude Journal back in the 90's, I was skeptical. I'm pretty sure it was because my then version of gratitude was something forced upon me and not something I knew how to feel. It was years before I felt called to keep one myself.
It wasn't until the amazing Genevieve Davis introduced the gratitude journal in her book "Becoming Magic" that I started getting a feel for the true meaning of gratitude. It helped that she mentioned you could substitute the gratitude journal for a "how wonderful" or "I'm so happy" -journal. When I put those words in front of things I was genuinely grateful for, a flush of true gratitude would rush over me. I finally understood gratitude. Not by having it explained. Not by words, but by feeling it deep into my soul.
She also made a big deal of not writing down things you think you should feel grateful for, but aren't. This was exactly my block around gratitude since it had been so heavily associated with feeling guilty.
My understanding of gratitude is now light and airy but deep and warm at the same time. It is not a state of mind, it is an emotion. And for me, it's a very physical one. I keep my gratitude journal to this day. When I write a sentence in it, I sit and feel the gratitude for that thing. I find that focusing upon things you are happy about or grateful for in your life is the most potent and powerful boost you can give your life.
What are you grateful for?
We are proud to announce that Jessica Lynne is now officially a CMA voting member. This is a great honor, the CMA accepts applications from full time professional artists and industry professionals, and Jessica Lynne is now among these hard working individuals and organizations.
About the Country Music Association:
CMA is dedicated to bringing the poetry and emotion of Country Music to the world. We will continue the tradition of leadership and professionalism, promoting the music, and recognizing excellence in all its forms. While fostering a spirit of community and sharing, we will respect and encourage creativity and the unique contributions of all. CMA will be a place to have fun and celebrate success. We will take risks, embrace change, and always exceed the expectations of those we serve.
Go to CMAworld.com to learn more.
Welcome to my Blog. It is going to be living on Patreon, but will be free for everyone for the time being. Hope you enjoy!
I once read the book “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed. If you get a chance to read it, you should. It’s a good book. In the book, she describes her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail and the personal changes she underwent during that journey. In it, she describes this as “doing something glorious and hard”. If you’ve ever busted some boundaries and dared to do something you didn’t think you could, you know exactly what that feels like. Like the time I went alone to India for 5 weeks and lived in an ashram and took my yoga teachers training. That’s what I was remembered, as I read those words.
Did you know that I did that? That journey was earth-shattering for me. I traveled for days to get Mumbai, even crossed the country on a train, which in India is quite an adventure on its own. Threw myself into the world of suicidal scooter-taxis and “helpers” who will grab your things without permission and then demand money for helping you. The world where saying the word “no” is considered rude, so if you ask a question and you’re met with “okay-okay”, you can be pretty sure they really meant no. Or maybe. Sometimes it means yes. I never really figured that out.
I spent hours of a 13-hour strict regiment bending my body in ways I didn’t even know it could, working for two weeks just to be able to find the balance on my head and endless hours of meditation, most of them spent resisting an itch. Excursions to local temples, climbing 500 steps and getting to see the innermost holy of a temple, something most westerners don’t get to see.
Doing karma yoga, which is basically doing chores, thought of as "working out your karma". Learning the ways of yoga, the 8 limbs of yoga, how the mind works, how this world is an illusion and how to seek the path to enlightenment. But most profoundly was the change in me. How I woke to my true self, my desires my passion and started listening to my heart and what it had to tell me. I came there to get a teacher's certificate. I walked away with so much more.
That was glorious and hard.
So, years later, as I was reading Cheryl Strayed’s words, I was thinking: it’s been a long time since I’ve done something glorious and hard.
Fast forward to today. This morning I woke to an aching body. Aching from a 6 am rise the day before with a 5-hour drive, a soundcheck, a showcase and hours of networking afterward. On top of that, only having very little to eat and fighting an inner ear infection on antibiotics. My whole body is aching this morning as I slowly get ready for the next 5-hour drive. I was even thinking it takes a certain type of person to be willing to do this.
But on top of it all, I’m smiling. I'm happy. Because I am living my dream. Because the opportunities that lie before me seem so bright and the showcase yesterday went so well. I’m excited to have an agent who is genuine and looking out for me.
I’ve been preparing for this for 9 years. I’ve been honing my craft, taking the steps (sometimes one step forward and two steps back) making the necessary changes, adjusted, created and created some more. It’s been a long journey and I’m starting to see some fruit, but it’s still my journey. And then it hit me: I am doing it! I am doing something glorious and hard.