Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Building Resilience through Gratitude

I’m cold … and it’s not even winter.

(Truth in blogging requires that I reveal this photo is from outside Reno (where I moved from) not from here, the place I'm whining about.)

 However, I am cold and believe the Universe is saying something to the effect of: “Your resilience muscles are flabby … time to toughen up.”

Of course, I didn’t know this when I made a sudden, spontaneous (is that redundant?) decision to uproot my just-recently-settled life in Reno and move to an RV in the mountains east of San Diego. You might think that meant I owned an RV and knew what winters were like in the Julian area. Not a chance on either count.

The Universe tricked me. I had a wild-hair idea and she kept making it easy to take the next step. I thought each step was a miracle that meant I was supposed to do this. I landed here seven weeks ago, and now know that somewhere there’s a devil-goddess doubled over in side-splitting laughter.

This is where I really am
Just so you have a more complete picture, I’m living in a lovely, ten year-old 37-foot fifth wheel with ALL the conveniences of a tiny home in a stunningly beautiful RV park surrounded with trees that I’ve fallen in love with. 
Should be paradise, huh? I’ve written earlier about some of the issues of a mechanically-challenged woman trying to swim through a mechanical world. So far, I haven’t drowned, thanks to dozens of YouTube videos, the advice of some kind neighbors and a gosh-awful plumbing bill … and was only without a toilet for a week. Fortunately, this park has some of the cleanest facilities I’ve seen, it’s just a bit chilly to get to them.

Anyway, there’s a point to all this rambling. As it’s gotten colder, I’ve begun to balance what I love about being here with the uncertainties of dealing with weather and mechanical mysteries. Heating an RV can be budget-challenging. Trying to live within that budget resulted in waking up this morning to a 46 degree house with a reluctance to use the gold-plated furnace or space heater. Extra layers of clothing help, but it’s not like sitting in front of a roaring fireplace. At some point, I had an epiphany in the form of a question … 

Who ever guaranteed that you’d always be toasty warm?

I began to think about indigenous women and pioneer women … how did they cope with winter? How did they keep their babies warm? I thought about Jeremiah Johnson (movie of same name) who wanted to be a mountain man and suffered through his own harsh learning curve of cold and hunger and being chased by people who wanted him dead. I even got around to wondering how prison camp survivors lasted sometimes for years under soul crushing conditions.

All of those people had few choices. They had to cope with what they were given, or die. Maybe that’s part of my issue: I do have choices. I could call this a mistake and go back to Reno, although there's no furniture left in that house. But, I really want to stay here and also need to respect my budget, so I get into this push-pull cycle, slogging through my own insecurities. 

In the midst of this vacillation, a friend called me and started reading to me … from my own book: Gratitude Miracles. It is a gratitude journal organized around thirteen four-week cycles focused on the benefits of practicing gratitude. 
Barbara said: “Listen to this … it’s from page 161 ...          

Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude says that, in troubling times, “not only will a grateful attitude help — it is essential. In fact, it is precisely under crisis conditions when we have the most to gain by a grateful perspective on life. In the face of demoralization, gratitude has the power to energize. In the face of brokenness, gratitude has the power to heal. In the face of despair, gratitude has the power to bring hope. In other words words, gratitude can help us cope with hard times.” 
She went on to insist that I should get the book out into the world because people needed to be practicing gratitude, especially in this time of a pandemic and so much political turmoil. (Actually, the journal is available on amazon.com)
I agreed and thought I needed to be the first person in line for it. While I’ve developed an attitude of gratitude, I haven’t been officially practicing it, so I brought out a copy and turned to page 161, which is part of the benefit cycle of Resilience. What I read launched my third journey through this journal, starting with Week 1 of Cycle 10: Gratitude Strengthens Resilience.

Already, I feel gratitude shifting my mind. I recognize that I have slipped into a mindset of not having enough, not being enough. This morning when I opened the door of my RV, I felt warm sunshine. It was still chilly but as I walked through the park, my spirit soared and I thought: I can solve these issues. I can stay warm enough (although maybe not my preferred 70-degrees); I can learn to deal with my RV issues and be smart about how I use my resources. 
All of this stuff is just falling leaves, changing of seasons. I can stay in this place that feeds my spirit ... or I can decide to do something else. It's my choice and I will be grateful for whatever comes, including the lessons that build my resilience. 
You can learn more about the Gratitude Miracles journal and resilience here.


  1. Remember, you can also be migratory. leave your 5th wheel and travel south for a short break in the winters. That's why we call them "snow birds" To somehwere that is less than your heating bill might be. Abrazos, Victoria

    1. Thanks ... I love the idea of being migratory ... sounds much better than being a gypsy or nomad. I'll keep this in mind when travel becomes a possibility again.

  2. I love that you are looking at your choices... and that you HAVE choices.... how wonderful is that!!!
    Be warm, my friend.
    Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  3. How perfect that your own book was just the inspiration you needed. I'm sending you warm, enveloping, gratitude-filled hugs...


  4. Joyce, you are an inspiration. Wish you and yours a safe and grateful Thanksgiving!

    1. Thanks, Marta ... it is lovely to be in a circle of inspiring women.

  5. You may friend never cease to amaze and inspire! How divine that you've uprooted yourself and now find yourself grounded in a place that feeds your soul.

    And yes, yes, yes to gratitude attitude!

    Can't wait to witness what is inspired by your new home on wheels!

  6. Louise ... thanks ... and there are more chapters forming in the story as unexpected challenges continue arise. It's great to be on parallel journeys.

  7. Don’t forget to call Karen if you have questions about the area or tradespeople. Wish I could come up for coffee and pie. I want to see the Buddha’s also. Enjoy the peace of the area and I feel you are much safer from covid up there.