3 Ways to Find Gratitude in Difficult Times – Edward Trout

As a nation, as we approach the holiday of Thanksgiving, we turn our collective focus toward gratitude; however, this year, the year of 2020, the year that keeps on giving, has made it more challenging for many of us to find the same level of thanks that we normally would. And yet, if anything, it is more important now than ever.

CSz Indianapolis holds four basic values: Collaboration; Inspiration; Fun; and Gratitude. For the last several months, we have not been able to improvise the way we have for years. We have had to release our performance space and lay off staff. We have had to cancel numerous events, both public and private, in order to maintain the collective health and well-being of our players and audiences. We have not been able to work “up close and personal” in a room packed with loyal fans laughing and shouting suggestions at us. At times, the sense of loss has been overwhelming, as it has been for so many others this year.

But amid all that, we have found ways to work. We have found new virtual games and new virtual formats. We have found new skills and new ways of reaching out to people – not because we were trying to break new ground, but because it was the only way forward for our work. We can lament what is not possible in this moment, or we can live in the present and look to the future with gratitude for what is possible.

So, if you are having difficulty finding your gratitude right now, here are three options to help:

  1. Keep a Gratitude Journal – This simple practice can be life-changing. It doesn’t need to be fancy, and it doesn’t need to be for anyone else to read. Just make it a practice to write down at least one thing each day for which you are thankful.
  2. Write Thank-You Notes – From now through the end of the year, write a thank you note (a letter, a card, a sticky note, an email, a text) and send it to someone. Or better yet, give someone a call and tell them how much you appreciate them. You will feel better, and so will they.
  3. Find Gratitude for Your Challenges – This is the toughest one and is the hardest to do when you are in the midst of the challenge. Start by looking back over your life and find the times that life didn’t turn out the way you had been planning. Then look at the good things that arose from those unexpected outcomes. Even having an opportunity to learn what we do not want can be a blessing.

Despite obstacles, as improvisers we have re-discovered our inspiration. We have found new methods of collaboration. We have had fun! And for all of that, I am so sincerely grateful.