New Year’s came and went and I somewhat avoided all conversations about New Year’s resolutions. I did not want to talk about the loss of 2017 and moving forward – without – in 2018. To contemplate the past and how to move forward requires that I find some stillness within myself… which opens up awareness of my sadness.

But with sadness comes gratefulness.

Can gratefulness come without sadness? Can we be grateful for our sadness? Grateful for feeling the pain and tears and angst? Grateful for lack of sleep and difficult decisions? Grateful for the moments that make us appreciate it all?

I offer part of a passage by Thich Nhat Hanh for you to consider:

One autumn day, I was in a park, absorbed in the contemplation of a very small beautiful leaf, shaped like a heart. Its color was almost red, and it was barely hanging on the branch, nearly ready to fall down. I spent a long time with it, and I asked the leaf a number of questions. I found out the leaf had been a mother to the tree. Usually we think that the tree is the mother and the leaves are just children, but as I looked at the leaf I saw that the leaf is also a mother to the tree. The sap that the roots take up is only water and minerals, not sufficient to nourish the tree. So the tree distributes that sap to the leaves, and the leaves transform the rough sap into elaborated sap and, with the help of the sun and gas, send it back to the tree for nourishment. Therefore, the leaves are also the mother to the tree.


I asked the leaf whether it was frightened because it was autumn and the other leaves were falling. The leaf told me, “No. During the whole spring and summer I was completely alive. I worked hard to help nourish the tree, and now much of me is in the tree. I am not limited by this form. I am also the whole tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree. So I don’t worry at all. As I leave this branch and float to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell her, ‘I will see you again very soon.'”

That day there was a wind blowing and, after a while, I saw the leaf leave the branch and float down to the soil, dancing joyfully, because as it floated it saw itself already there in the tree. It was so happy. I bowed my head, knowing that I have a lot to learn from that leaf.

-Thich Nhat Hanh

As parents, our children often teach us more about ourselves than we ever expected. We think we are teaching and growing them, but in reality it is a mutual, reciprocal process.

My mother is me and I am my mother. Her actions, values, tenderness, and weird habits are in me as mine were in her.

As I move into 2018 I simply want to breathe with gratitude.


My mom exists in my breath. In the wind. In the leaves. In the love of those around me.

I will embrace my stillness. Be grateful for my sorrow. Breathe in. And out. As I am connected to my mom. To you. To all.

4 thoughts on “Gratefulness

  1. This is such a different perspective. I lost my mom, 2 months ago, and I feel broken. Her birthday in Dec , new year, and every such thing becomes even more painful. Your post gave me a new outlook, and I found it really comforting. As the leaf says to tree, “I will see you again, I just hope that I will also meet my mother again.

    • Thank you so much. It is not an easy perspective for sure. But we all move through grief in our own time and own way. Feeling broken is ok. Feeling sad is ok. Feeling angry and lonely is ok. Feeling grateful and happy is also ok. I send love and light to you as you find things to be grateful for with your mom.

      • Thanks you for supporting my feeling, for sharing it is OK to feel the way I feel. If you will go though my recent post of past 2 months, you will notice how my mood keeps swinging. Sometimes I feel it’s darkness all around forever and sometimes I feel like there is a ray of hope somewhere. My mood, my emotions they are swinging like a pendulum. My heart is not yet ready to accept the truth and my mind forces it to accept.

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