What Is Gratitude?

Lately, this word gratitude keeps popping up in my mind. I keep thinking about it, wondering what it truly means to be grateful. I keep thinking about how to find gratitude during times of tribulation and adversity. It’s easy for us to find gratitude when our lives are running smoothly, when things feel like they are going in the right direction, when happiness is all that can be felt. But, what about when the times get hard and there’s mountains to climb, peaks to summit, large waves to cross, and storms to endure? It’s during these times that we forget what gratitude is. We tend to move inward during times of hardship, reflecting our fears and our anxiety outward in the form of bad attitudes, crudeness, and stubbornness, accompanied by muscles aches and pains.

41619177 - young woman in yoga pose sitting near watefall rear view

Recently, I have been going through my own trials and tribulations with my health. As if pregnancy doesn’t put enough strain and stress on the body, I came to find I have other serious health issues that are unrelated to being pregnant, yet the pregnancy have progressed my issues. Two weeks ago, I took myself to the hospital complaining of severe pain and swelling in my left leg. My leg was twice the size of my right, and it was turning a far darker shade of purple than what my olive brown skin usually appears to be. The pain was so intense it was difficult for me to walk, it radiated up into my lower back and hips, and at that point was sending me to tears. It was discovered I had a massive, two and half foot long blood clot running just about the entire length of my leg, with smaller clots creating blockages in the surrounding vein systems. The condition is known as deep vein thrombosis, or simply DVT. I was kept in the hospital for six days, unable to walk to the bathroom three feet away from my bed without calling a nurse to help me, unable to sleep through the night without crying in pain, all the while wondering why this was happening to me. I’m young, I’m fit, I’m active. Pregnant or not pregnant, how could this happen?

Once I was discharged, things began looking up. I had a home health nurse coming to visit me three times a week, a physical therapist coming twice a week to help me strengthen my leg, and family that flew in from 3,000 miles away to help cook meals, help around the house, take care of my six-year-old kiddo, and allow me to rest when I needed it. By day seven of being home, tragedy struck again. My mom called 911 while I was keeling over in pain from strong contractions that were coming two minutes apart and gushes of fluid running down my legs, not knowing what was wrong with me, all of us fearful of preterm labor or something worse. After hours of screaming in pain, vomiting, and a team of doctors all scratching their heads wondering what was wrong, it was determined I was not in labor (thankfully), but clearly something else was causing all the chaos. After doses of pain medication that was presumably safe for baby, my body was finally able to relax enough that some tests could be done. But nothing of concern was found. The clot at this point had been dissolving and significantly going down in size, it was clear it had not moved anywhere else in my body, and there was nothing that seemed to be directly causing the pain or the contractions.

After being monitored for 24 hours, and with the contractions under control and certain they were not labor contractions, I was discharged from the grasps of western medicine and brought home where I could manage the pain and the fear with my holistic ways and oils. Again, the word gratitude kept coming to mind. Why am I thinking about gratitude when everything around me is gloomy and filled with dismay? Why is gratitude the first thing that comes to mind when the waves of intense pain strike?

It was then that I started to embrace the resonance of this word and I started thinking about what it is I need to be feeling grateful for right now during my time of pain and hardship. Of course, the first thought was I’m grateful for my family for coming to me and standing by my side in this time of need. But that wasn’t enough. Gratitude continue to come to me and I felt something in the universe was really trying to tell me something. So, I started doing some meditation and deep thinking about it; which inevitably led me to writing about it in this post.

According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary: New Edition, the word gratitude is literally defined by one word, bolded and in all caps: THANKFULNESS. But does that really define gratitude? Isn’t gratitude so much more than just the act of being thankful, feeling thankful? You can be thankful for the clothes on your back when you have no other possessions, but how can you project that gratuity outward when you’re feeling down and in need of things you cannot manifest? I’ve seen so many fall down spiraling holes of depression and sadness because they have blocked themselves from finding gratitude during times of angst and chaos, which is a time when it is needed most. I have been one of these “victims” multiple times in the past. During each dark time, I have never once thought about gratitude; but instead have repeatedly brushed off feeling thankful thinking I was undeserving of being grateful for anything. It is taking this current moment of despair for me to realize that gratefulness can be found at any moment in time, and it is during these times of need especially, where finding gratitude can help you through pain, suffering, and darkness; guiding you to a place where you can find the light. Find a place of peace and calm in the middle of a storm.

thank you

I leave you with these last thoughts of what I feel gratitude means to me, and I hope you can find your own words of gratitude during times of chaos and fatigue, as well as during times of sunshine and happiness.

Gratitude is finding the good amongst the chaos.

Gratitude is being thankful for the things you have without being envious of the things you cannot obtain.

Gratitude is a hug in a moment of despair and fear.

Gratitude is feeling calm when your heart aches.

Gratitude is giving love to those around you who are suffering more than you in that moment.

Gratitude is finding peace when you’re standing in the middle of a storm.

Gratitude is giving to someone you love when you don’t have much to give.

What are some things you’re grateful for?

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings”

~ William Arthur Ward




What Am I Doing Here?

Over the last year, I found myself asking these same three questions: “what am I doing here?”, “how did I get here?”, and “where am I going?”. So for my very first blog post, I have decided to share with the world what it is I am doing here, on the internet, typing away on a blog (something I have never done before), how I got to this point in my life, and where I want all of this to go,  including what I promise to provide my readers from here on out, and how I can help you all find what it is you may be looking for too. So, let’s begin…

What am I doing here?

Something that initially drove me to embark on this great new adventure was my passion of literature and my desire to be a writer. For years, writing has always been my go-to. When I was sad or angry, feeling alone in the world, I always found myself going back to pen and paper. Writing down the words that ran quickly through my mind. Many times those words worked themselves out into poems and short stories; other times they just became scrambled words on the page, making no sense but having all the meaning in the world.

This is what I am doing here. I am manifesting what it is I want to become: a writer, a creator of words, and a sharer of thoughts to heal. I am a being that embodies not just what this universe has in store for me, but one who can strengthen where someone else falls short. Whether that means I write a review for a product you just came out with, or I’m helping someone write down who they are in a dating profile in hopes they can find love (and yes, I have done this before!). And some days I will write just to write, because the words racing around in my mind are just too great to be held in.

How did I get here?

This question always leaves me wondering: where do I begin? So, for purposes of not creating an autobiography in my first blog post, I’ll start at a pivotal moment in my life; a time where I was lost and was in desperate need of guidance, back two years ago, the summer of 2015.

That year I truly was all about self-discovery; what was my purpose on this Earth and how could I bring forth my potential? In short, I was searching to answer the question: who am I really? That was the year I was really getting into learning about traditional Tibetan Buddhism, practicing mindful meditation and of course, yoga. So that May, and with the help of my mom, I signed up for my very first yoga and meditation retreat, to be held at one of the most beautiful locations in the country, high up in the rocky mountains at the Shambhala Mountain Center.

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The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, nestled in the grounds at SMC at Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. (click here for photo credit)

I chose a to partake in an all woman’s retreat program, feeling that the only way I could connect with my true inner self, was to connect with other women. This was a road I was not too familiar with, for all my life finding strong relationships with other ladies has always been difficult for me. The program was for six days and five nights, and I had opted to camp out in a tent on the property. I arrived the night before day one, said goodbye to my mom and four-year-old daughter, and was left there alone, cut off from the world I had known so much about. The morning of day one, I woke up just before sunrise and hiked up to the very top of the tallest mountain that surrounded the property, and I sat there, watching the pristine nature waking up under the morning sun, and I was ready to bring on a new world.

A picture of me taken by some other hikers, that very first morning before my retreat really began, just after sunrise.

There are truly so many amazing things I can write about this trip, but I will stick to the most important part of it, the part that got me here, writing this page. It was during this adventure that I was finally able to open up and be true to myself. It was then that I realized I am not just a leader, but I am a natural born healer. What I was truly meant to do in this world is to help others heal from their pain, both physical and emotional, the traumas they have gone through, and the experiences they can learn from and let go of to grow into their best beings. This is how Bella Gaia Healthy Living got started.

I let go of fear at this retreat. The fear that was holding me back and keeping me confused and stuck in a world I was not happy in. Once I allowed myself to let go of that fear, I was able to see my true inner light. I was able to see in myself that I really was a “Beautiful Earth Goddess” (Bella Gaia), and I can share my spirit with others to help them get through the trials and tribulations that surround us all.

Where am I going?

Now that I have started my website, Bella Gaia Healthy Living, and I have teamed up with the wonderful women trio of Dynamic Roots, and I have embarked on becoming a doTERRA Wellness Advocate, the sky is my limit and the world is my oyster; there is nothing but mountains from here on out to climb and surpass.

My next big adventure is to accomplish my yoga teacher certification so that I can lead retreats, meditation, and yoga sessions much like the one that inspired me to travel down this path two years ago. After that, it’s off to Chinese medicine school where I plan to dive even deeper into the world of holistic healing and herbs.

My promise to you, my readers, is to provide you with all the information that will help guide you to living a better, healthier life. One that is wholesome and natural, so that when you are faced with your hard times you can come out of it a better person and not stuck in the present, held prisoner by your past. Progression is growth. When you make the choice to subscribe to my website, you will be given the opportunity to learn something new about a healthy lifestyle everyday, information that can be shared with others.

I hope you enjoyed this read and I look forward to sharing with you my adventures moving forward.

“Do not dwell in the past. Do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment.” ~ Siddartha Gautama, the Buddha