Gallery of Gratitude
by Michelle Alexander
Gratitude is easy and flowing when life is good. When you have all you need, when love is plentiful, when money is long and when friendships are easy. When everything in your life is invited and welcomed. But what about gratitude when life is challenging, or when love has left, when your money dries up, when friendships end, in pain, in letting go? How does gratitude show up for us during these times?
This last year has been a lesson in gratitude. It has been transitional and I have been resentful, angry and sad. I cried, screamed, yelled and cussed a lot. There were moments I wanted to give up and crawl into a deep hole of bitterness. But I knew I would some where find the gratitude in it all.
I have always been able to process pain with a specific formula. I learned it years ago and it has helped me move through difficult times in my life. For me, it’s the most powerful visualization tool I have in my healing tool box. I call it the Gallery of Gratitude.
Every experience we have had, good or bad, hangs like a picture in our mind. We walk through life with these memories and experiences. If the memories are good, we want to leave them hanging in our gallery so that we can look at them, admire them and be grateful for them. However, when they are bad, we want to take them down and put them in an attic somewhere.
But what if, instead of hiding them we simply gave them a new frame. We took them down from the wall, touched them, held them, felt them and found their meaning. When we find their meaning, we reframe them. The picture doesn’t change, but the definition that encases that memory does. It’s a simple, “find the meaning in the pain exercise”, but the actual visualization exercise and walking through it in your mind is powerful, so try it.
This year I have spent a lot of time visualizing myself on the floor of my gallery. One by one I have proudly re-framed and re-hung those pictures. This visualization exercise was the mechanism that helped me redefine all of my pain into gratitude. It has helped me embrace and accept change, loss and the natural purging that happens when you are meant to experience life in abundance.
Life is good for me now. Everything that was taken, lost or removed has been restored and I am immensely grateful for the time I spent in my Gallery of Gratitude and the frames that I now see on all of my beautiful art that hangs on its walls.
Michelle Alexander is the founder and creator of A Gurlz Guide, a powerful collection of LBTQ writers who passionately share their hearts, spirits, personal experiences and love for the community in an effort to bring love, reconciliation, healing to some hard hitting topics; real people writing about real experiences. Michelle is a Coach and Mentor specializing in emotional discovery and processing. She is currently working on her first book, Radical Notions of Love, Re-defining the Fairy Tale. Visit her at www.agurlzguide.org or follow her on Twitter @agurlzguide
Photo by Diva Blue Photography: https://www.facebook.com/divabluephotos
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