Keeping an attitude of gratitude during the pandemic

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By Tamica Washington-Miller

Guest Columnist

Living through this pandemic over the past two years has given the idea of gratitude a deeper meaning to so many of us.

As a result, the world is literally being moved into a new era; one with a new vision and refreshed hope. We are in a time of transition.

And yes, change can be scary and uncomfortable. Which is why it seems like now, more so than ever, many of us (including myself) have sought comfort in the simple reflection that there is so much for us to be so incredibly grateful for.

Like so many, I’m learning how to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” by consciously expressing an authentic appreciation for every aspect of my life, no matter how small it is. At times, it’s not easy. It definitely takes practice.

But given the last two years, the current state of the world, and the things I’ve seen and lived through personally, my heart becomes full of humility when I reflect with an “attitude of gratitude.” When I can simply stop and shift a negative perspective by focusing on something like how grateful I am to have the unconditional support from friends and family members who have embraced me with their continued love, respect, honesty, and understanding.

So with that, as we celebrate another Thanksgiving and safely gather with our family and friends, let me share a few things that I’m eternally grateful for during this time of COVID-19.

For one, we’re here, we’re alive. We’ve survived.

For me, the pandemic has helped me to develop a profound sense of gratitude towards the grace of life; because there are so many souls that are unfortunately no longer with us today. So now, each day I take time to thank God for my life, my health and the continued vitality of all my bodily functions.

During the pandemic, I’m grateful to have learned the gift and the blessing of time. We often take time for granted. But we really shouldn’t. As we have seen with the millions of unexpected COVIDrelated deaths, time is not a promise nor a guarantee.

We must be grateful for time that we do have. Time with family, time to learn, time to heal and time to grow. And I’m grateful to have the time to even have time.

Time to see my parents, time to raise my sons, time to hold my husband’s hand, time to just dance.

As many of you may know, I’m a professional dancer/choreographer. And I have been for well over 30 years. So, dance is more than a hobby, or an exercise class to me. It’s the foundation of my being and life’s philosophy.

And I’m grateful to have dance be such an integral part of my life. Because movement can be so healing — mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And we saw this during the height of the pandemic.

As I wrote back in February, throughout the pandemic we saw “people [coming] together to move or dance in prayer, to heal themselves, and for global healing. They danced for fun and to release tensions, [as well as] to salute our first responders. Dance was, and continues to be, a unifier- bringing families, communities, and people together as it has throughout human history.”

I am excited to be able to play a role in how the art of dance is shifting the world into a new vibration. I share my gift of dance, and my teaching dance, with gratitude and humility to honor our dance ancestors and elders, who in previous times of global shifts also led the way to help shift emotional and spiritual healing with the power of dance and movement to their communities.

Lastly, in addition to a healthy body, life, time and the fact that despite everything I can still express myself through dance.

I am grateful to have emerged from quarantine with a renewed sense of personal boundaries and the acceptance of radical self-care. For me, this looks like taking more personal time for reflection, working smarter not harder, and placing healthy boundaries on my space and time so that I don’t burn myself out, or anyone else, on my journey of self-renewal. What does radical self-care look like for you?

I am invigorated by the “new fire” and sense of gratitude I see in so many people. Many of us are emerging from the pandemic eager to jump into life and determined to do things differently. We’ve embraced this time of transition and change, and are living with the hope that these global changes are going to be meaningful and impactful over time.

During this holiday season, I encourage you to take the time to show and express through an “attitude of gratitude.” You’ll see that expressing it is a blessing in and of itself, because it will eventually come back to you by lifting you up when you least expect it, or when you need it the most.

Tamica Washington-Miller is the associate director of the Lula Washington Dance Theatre, a Los Angeles-based repertoire dance ensemble that performs innovative and provocative choreography by its founder, and Tamica’s mother, Lula Washington.

 

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