You’re Doing Great. You Should Give Thanks and Chill the Eff Out.

In case you forgot, I was at a retreat this past weekend (neener neener). It was glorious, I didn’t have phone or Internet access, and I even found maple cotton candy while I was up there.

But I’m not here to gloat. (Or am I? J/K. Or not.)

I wanted to share something with you.

At the beginning of the retreat, we had a welcome ceremony, during which yoga instructor Erica Mather passed around a talking stick and asked each of us to answer a few questions. Among them: What are you hoping to gain from this retreat?

When it was my turn to speak, the talking stick shook in my hands. My eyes teared up. What was I looking for? I had been feeling a lot of anger and frustration lately, both from the continued lack of interest in our condo, and in my continued failure to get pregnant. I told the group before me that I was looking for calm.

At the end of the retreat — five yoga classes, five cooking classes, two hot tub sessions, a greenhouse field trip, a journaling session, and a s’mored up, drunken bonfire later — we passed around the talking stick again. What do you feel gratitude for? Erica asked us. What have you learned?

By that point, it was clear I’d received something much better than simple calm. I’m grateful that I was able to experience something like this, I told the group. I learned that I have a lot to be grateful forso I should just chill out.

A year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to take this trip. At the time, I was working a permalance gig, at which I was overworked and underpaid. I had also completed a career coaching certification program, but was failing to bring in clients, despite several contests on my blog, an e-course experiment, and a successful Word Nerd Networking event. I struggled to pay the bills, and was consumed by the thought that I was probably failing.

Now? I’m only two months away from eradicating the last of my credit card debt. The other month, I was able to splurge on a yoga studio membership. And this month? I was able to go on a mothereffing yoga/cooking retreat.

It’s just… wild.

It’s not Thanksgiving yet, but I don’t think it’s too early to give thanks for the circumstances that have brought me to this place:

  • I’m grateful my parents believed in me enough to lend me the money for my career coaching certification program. At long last, their investment appears to be paying off.
  • I’m grateful to my husband for spending many, many hours making my website pretty, setting up an e-course platform, giving me e-commerce capabilities, and more.
  • I’m grateful to the writing opportunities that have come my way as a result of the work I’ve done, and the people I’ve met.
  • I’m grateful to have learned my worth, learned how to negotiate… and learned how to walk away.
  • I’m grateful I was finally able to muster up the courage to cut that permalance safety net loose and, as a result, begin earning the money I deserve.
  • I’m grateful to the people I’ve met not only through work, but also through Twitter, Brazen Careerist, the YEC, and this blog. I love how we support each other.
  • I’m grateful for being able to find gratitude in the midst of the anger that has overwhelmed me lately.

I haven’t reached my full potential yet. Obviously. But I have a lot to be grateful for, and I need to remember that. I need to remember how lucky I am.

Have you been feeling angry lately? Frustrated. Anxious or scared or jealous or desperate? Your feelings aren’t invalid by any means, but ask yourself: What do you feel gratitude for?

Related: Looking for Fulfillment? Don’t Hold Out for Perfect, Inch By Inch: How Small Steps Lead to Big Success


  1. I am grateful that you wrote this post. Thank you for sharing. Also, that sounds like the most amazing retreat ever.

  2. You had me at maple cotton candy…

    • Seriously. You can’t put the words “maple cotton candy” at the beginning of the post cause then I’ll be distracted the whole time I’m reading.

      Next week is the two-year anniversary of me striking out on my own, so this post is particularly appropriate. Time to be grateful for everything I’ve accomplished in such a short time, even if it felt slow and draggy to get to this point!

  3. Well definitely a big thanks for your husband, your website design looks great. I’m thankful for rainy weather today–perfect excuse to bake cookies

  4. This is a lovely post and a lovely list! I am happy to see things moving up for you. I am totally jealous over the yoga and cooking retreat and need one of those!

  5. Well, I think I’m about where you were at last year. I’m feeling drained and uninspired with my writing at this point and we’re swimming in debt. But gratitude lists do help, I do one each day. I’m always grateful for my health, husband, dogs and the beauty of our land, our home and my wonderful studio. I try to let those feelings overcome anything else I might be experiencing at the time.

  6. Great lessons. Truly. Even on my worst days, and goodness knows I’ve had some doozy days in the last 2+ years with nearly everyone in my life sick and/or dying, I know just how lucky I am to be self-employed. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth the struggle in so many ways.

  7. A good reminder for me that it is always the right time to be thankful for what we have, can do, experience…

  8. Enjoyed reading this and seeing how things are moving in the right direction. Always good to remember the good, not only the bad, in life.

  9. I love seeing everyone else’s gratitude lists. I feel grateful to you all for always being willing to share with me!

  10. Gratitude can turn everything around! I kept a gratitude journal for a year, about 5 years ago, and it just felt so refreshing and useful to be able to pull that journal out of my desk drawer every morning and sit down and write what I was grateful for. I think it make a huge difference in my life.
    I would encourage anyone to try this method of thinking differently!

  11. I’m grateful for my health and the fact that I can earn a very decent living from my writing. I’m grateful for the stack of books I desperately want to read. Even though I never seem to have enough time, it’s nice to know they’re there waiting for me, like a good friend. And I’m grateful for family, especially my mom and brother.

  12. Love this post. I’m grateful for so many things, including writers like you who are walking the walk. I’m grateful for being able to follow my heart and live the dream. I’m grateful that I’m able to forge a career path of my own making, without bowing to someone else to make it happen.

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