Transformational Gratitude

Bernice Butler

Circumstances provided me an opportunity to start my Thanksgiving season early and in earnest.  I remain so deeply moved and transformed by my own experience of life-jolting situations—as well as those of friends, family and colleagues—that now the dust has cleared, we are seeing ways to move forward.

Freshly released from a potentially life-threatening condition, I praise God for surrounding me with loving family, prayerful friends and kind and compassionate wellness experts that have been part of our local Natural Awakenings community for more than seven years. Their encouragement, expertise and emotional support, including the sincere care of my integrative physician, made all the difference in my recovery.

All of this has had a profound effect on my overall outlook and attitude. I’m glad to be in good health and refuse to let people and things stress me. I’m excited by life again and it’s a great place to be. I believe I will be in a constant state of gratitude forevermore. 

My newfound state of optimism was challenged when I was recently alerted that the publisher of Natural Awakenings Long Island, Kelly Martinsen, woke up in the middle of the night to an electrical fire burning her house to the ground. She posted on Facebook, “We had a fire and I know that there is word out there that we ‘lost everything’. I want to assure everyone that this is not the case. While our house may be totaled, ‘everything’ I need was found the morning after the fire as I held my kids (all three!) and my husband in my driveway… for now we have no needs.”

She went on to thank Waleska Sallaberry, who was staying with her and woke Kelly in time to get everyone to safety. Waleska publishes Natural Awakenings Puerto Rico with her husband, Luis Mendez (see September’s cover yoga photo); the family had relocated Waleska and the kids to New York after Hurricane Maria so she could enroll them in school. Luis remained in Puerto Rico, and together they are doing everything they can to help rebuild their beautiful seaside village and natural health community.

After having her life turned upside-down and witnessing fire demolish Kelly’s home, Waleska even posted a picture of her new 2018 planner, laying claim to the “Best year ever.” What if we all lived with such a healthy unattachment to material things, and maintained a peaceful sense of trust in what lies ahead? 

Positive stories of people helping others abound, able to shine a bright light on the power of perspective, neighborliness and gratitude, even in times of hardship. Thanksgiving is a special reminder to express gratitude for all the good in our lives—especially that which can’t be bought or burned down. Whether it’s good health, a beautiful sunset, a compassionate hand or the embrace of a loved one, we benefit from the rich blessings only God can give.

May you behold the bountiful blessings at hand,

Bernice Butler, Publisher



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