Why right now, being grateful for your family is not enough

Is it possible I would say Gratitude is not enough? Is there a time when that is the truth?

I would say yes...and no. The "and" is important here.

Right now, this country is in a dark, dark time. Children have been separated from their parents, human rights violated, new depths of morality tested. This is not a political post. There are no politics here. I will not debate immigration policy. 

But I will debate morality. 

If you are like me, you cannot sleep at night. You cry spontaneously through the day. You wonder if you have ever felt so powerless before. 

I reach out to my allies and good friends who are leaders in this fight regionally and nationally and I feel even their despair. 

And I wonder what the hell could I be grateful for right now? 

And today, I am grateful for my rage.


I am grateful that I am awake enough to feel it. I am grateful that this rage will meld with the rage of those around me to call out and cry for this to stop. For history to not repeat itself, once again. 

And I am grateful for words of solace that I come back to from James Finely, a Trappist monk, who was asked why evil exists. 

Instead of giving an answer that explained evil through a spiritual or karmic lens, he gave an answer that gives me comfort and I hope it does for you.

"We can’t make sense of (evil)...nor should we. We can never reason away the reality of evil and it is a mistake to try. Evil exists. Unreasonable cruelties happen and some may happen to you.”

He did not deny evil. It is not only okay, but necessary, to call it out. And he continued...

“The next level of that answer is that you take what cannot be changed on the outside and you transcend it on the inside. You use the external crisis to transform you, past the point at which crises of evil, despair, or destruction can destroy you. You must become stronger within by building a capacity inside of you that can respond to the world around you with a much greater power, the power of love.”

Now, let me be straight with you. I am not ready to love. I am full of rage and am ready to fight. But what I can do is let the power of the love I have for this world, for these families and for justice, fuel my work to change what is before me. 

And I can use my love for justice be what buoys me when hope sometimes falters. 

And so, I tell you today that Gratitude for having your own children close to you is NOT enough.

That is only the first sign that you know you are privileged and that you must take a stand at this time.

Take that Gratitude for your life, Love for justice and do the work that is needed to do. Below, I will give you an actionable item from my dear friend and justice fighter, Pramila Jayapal, who is fighting the fight for us in Washington, DC. Join her and your neighbors June 30th and call out for the light to shine out the darkness.

Live (and fight) well,
Tanmeet

Take action: Mobilize on June 30 at 11 a.m. Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C. Organizers expect more than 100 actions to take place nationwide.

FIND OR SIGN UP TO HOST AN EVENT IN YOUR COMMUNITY HERE: FamiliesBelongTogether.org



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How I found Gratitude for the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain

This past week, the news of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain's suicides have deeply touched many. And so they should. Anytime, celebrity or not, an individual feels so much despair to end their life, it is a sad moment for us to note and pause for. I have patients in this predicament and I have had them in my heart even more this week, hoping that they can find hope eventually. I've also seen so many articles about how this could happen or why people (even those with the proverbial "have it all" kind of life) do this and on and on.

I wasn't a Kate Spade junkie (but props to how she changed the world of fashion for sure) but I had a soft spot for her nonetheless. After I listened to an in-depth podcast with her and her husband a couple of years ago, I had enormous respect for her creativity, her faith in herself and her ability to take a challenging industry by storm, all with one sweet idea. And I was especially affected by Anthony Bourdain's death. For me, he was not only a lover of food and travel (my two favorite things) but he was someone who went with the mission of connecting with the people who made the food, with the mission of having them tell their story instead of him being the interpreter. He showed how food can connect us to each other and the world around us. He was a rare breed and I will miss his presence. 

So, how, you might ask, could I possibly be grateful for their deaths?

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If you want a Gratitude Practice, then you should have put a ring on it

It's shameless but I'll bring Beyonce in to the conversation anytime I can. I can admit I have gratitude for her! But seriously, she was talking about commitment in her song and that's what I'm talking about too. If you want a gratitude practice that truly transforms your life, you need to commit. Now. 

People ask me all the time how gratitude changes your life and they are amazed. Better mood, better sleep, more satisfying relationships, and on and on. All of it sounds great, they agree. But HOW exactly do you do it? 

And you know I talk about the HOW in this blog every week, but this week I want to talk about the WHEN. 

If you want gratitude to give your life the juicy, good stuff and feel all the good jujus, you need to commit.

That means, you have to choose a gratitude tool and you have to do it every day (ok, at least most days) 

Now, that may sound hard but what if I tell you, it actually is easier? Easier than trying to do it occasionally.

Yep, you heard that right.

If you commit to a practice, it gets easier each and every day you do it.

That's because of how your brain responds. Your reward circuits love getting the good feelings gratitude gives you. Your dopamine does that magic for you and you just want more and more. So the more regular you are with your practice, the more rewarded you feel and the more you want to do it again...and again...and again.

So trust me on this one. Pick a tool (and you can always change it up but start with one). Make a gratitude jar at home or work, start writing gratitude letters every week, start every meal with gratitude, join our Facebook gratitude community to get support, there are so many options.

It doesn't matter what you choose. It just matters that you choose something every day.

Remember, success is trying. And believe me this is worth trying. 

I invite you to see what consistent practice could look like in your day. And let me know how it changes (or has changed) your life so that others can see what I mean.

Go ahead, commit and put a ring on it. 

Live well,
Tanmeet


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An oldie but goodie, get that jar out

This week, I have been reminiscing about one of my first posts so long ago, a tried and true tool I use...a gratitude jar. It's a sure way to make gratitude a bigger part of your life and your family or work routine. And anyway, don't tell me you don't have too many jars laying around your home! Let's get them put to use.

Our family has one in our main room. It's a jar with pieces of paper next to it. Anyone can scribble down a "grateful" anytime and then on a set day of the week (for us it's on the weekend), we open up those folded, magical reminders of all the good in our lives. Especially all the simple goodness, like Legos, ladybugs or cuddles with our dog. There is no grateful too small for the jar. Especially when they are gratitude for each other.

You can have one at work or home, one at special feasts or holidays. 

Put your gratitude in a jar and the jar will fill up with goodness for you.

Remember, we are wired to look for the bad. It's how we have survived. But YOU have the power to change that. You can rewire your brain to remember all the good. And this tool is a sure way to do that, day in and day out. 

Even better, it is a group reminder because you do it with others. And connecting over gratitude is even better than solo gratitude. (What's not better with others anyway?) I do this at home, we do it at work and you can do it starting today. 

Remember that our thoughts are just the stories we tell ourselves. 

And you can change these stories by looking for beauty and simple joys.

When life feels hard, reach into this jar and find a different story.

I would LOVE to hear how it works for you. Or if you already use one! 

Live well,

Tanmeet

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This one question could dissolve your moment of suffering

It may surprise you that I don't fully understand all of the metaphysical terms now thrown around like they were always the way we talked to each other. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am fully down with meditation, love, self-compassion, mantras, candles, so many of the things we used to call "New Age" when I was a young girl. And people now sometimes call me the "Gratitude Lady" so you might even call me "woo-woo" and I would happily take it. The truth is "woo-woo" keeps me fully alive and joyful! So, you might want some "woo-woo" yourself.

But start saying you want to "manifest" things and I get confused. And I remember the first time several years ago that someone told me, "Let's put out the intention..." and me wishing this conversation was the kind I could interrupt and say, "Exactly what do you mean by that?" No, instead I just stayed pleasantly confused, knowing that there was good juju's behind that but not sure what to do with it. So, it takes me a while to break down these words into language I can understand. Eventually, I do. In my own good time, I get the "aha" about the meaning and then hear myself saying these words.

So, that brings me to my latest "aha moment" with one of these words.


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Sniff out some gratitude

Gratitude practice is actually a sensory experience. Think about it:


We “see” the beauty around us.

We “hear” sounds of nature and loving words

We “taste” powerful food that connects us to the earth.

We “feel” power, health and even the breath in our body.

But what about “smell?” When have you associated scents with gratitude? I promise, you are missing out if you neglect this sneaky sense.

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The easiest (and best) last minute gift for Mother's Day

In a bind? Don't know what to get or just got too busy? Better yet, your own kids are asking you what you want for Mother's Day and you don't know what to tell them? 

No sweat, I've got you covered and studies back me up that this is a gift of high value.

Give me a few minutes of your time and we can wrap Mother's Day 2018 up in a special bow and call it the best one yet. 


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Everyone needs a quickie...

Ok, not that kind of quickie but I like the way you are thinking...I was thinking more along the lines that we all need a quick blog post sometimes so this will be one. And we sure as hell all need a quick way to get more good gratitude juice into our lives every day so here's one of those too...

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Do you need a Monday makeover?

We get makeovers of our faces, our homes, our wardrobes...I think I even saw an ad for a Mama Makeover (not sure how you makeover the most perfect thing ever if I must say so myself!) All of these things to make something that has gotten seemingly drab and boring to us, new and exciting. Why not a Monday makeover? I mean, have you ever heard anyone say, "Thank goodness it's Monday?" instead of Friday...NO! No, we are ever grateful for Fridays. We give it so much love and respect. And who can argue with that? But why can't we use gratitude to makeover Mondays? I mean I'm all in, Mondays need some rebranding and I'm here to help.

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How to become a badass at finding joy (Part 1)

Some disclaimers off the bat:

1. Yes, I really mean become a badass at finding joy. I That means being really good but also being fierce. No matter what happens, you keep going. You pick yourself up and find it again. And NO ONE gets in your way. Yep, a true badass.

2. I used to be so far from being a badass at this. So far that I have suffered depression, the kind that stops you in your tracks, keeps you unable to function and makes you question why you are even here. So far that I would constantly strive to be something I was not, envy constantly got the best of me and my mind's negative chatter ruled the roost. So if I can learn how to be one, so can you.

3. The truth is I am writing a whole book on this so there is no way I think I can explain how to be a badass in one post or even in one sitting. But I thought we could at least start. 

So now that we have the record straight, let's move on. When someone like me learns how to be a badass at finding joy, it's clear that the lessons can be learned, right? So, let's get on with it...

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Make Hope your daily neuroplasticity workout

As a physician healer, I often hear the phrases, "Don't get their hopes up" from other docs trying to convey that we must be realistic with patients. (Of course we do, but bear with me here.) Or from patients, "I don't want to get my hopes up, doctor" lest they be shattered. Do you hear what I hear behind these statements? Fear, a whole lot of fear. We don't want to have "false hope"...we don't want to get too excited for something that might not happen.

But today I am going to break down why I think this is the wrong way to approach life. And it's not because I think you get everything you want or put out to the universe. No, I can vouch that life does not always turn out the way you expected. And that it is a total bummer when it doesn't. But this fear-based way of living is shattering your ability to live fully. It's time to release it and I am going to break down exactly why and how. 

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