THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE / by Kassandra Horn

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This past week and, well, the past few months left me thinking more than usual about gratitude – about how and where it shows up in my life, habits or behaviors I may be holding onto that take away from it and what practices I could adopt to live and love from a place of abundance.  

Without turning this into a pity party, I can honestly say this year has had its share of ups and downs. I’m frustrated with lot of what’s happening in our country politically and economically. I’m facing a few personal demons and recognizing my responsibility in creating (or not creating) my own happiness. At the same time, I’m experiencing so many wins. And you know what? I’m learning to find gratitude in all of it. No, every day isn’t always an improvement but to the best of my ability I’m no longer hiding from the negatives. I’m listening to the lessons, using them to guide me and moving forward instead of looking back.

Let’s talk a little bit about what’s pushing me closer to my truth:

FAMILY who supports everything I do and loves me unconditionally but also keeps me in line. I love that as I get older our conversations and closeness grow deeper. I can be open about almost anything with them and know that even if we disagree, we appreciate our differences and intend to create a safe space for expression.

FRIENDS who know how to make life’s little moments a little sweeter, who will dance in the streets if the mood strikes, who aren’t afraid to say I love you and pick me up off the floor when my pain is too much to bear. They call me out on my BS, encourage me to pursue passions and remind me that I am imperfectly perfect on the days I don’t see it. 

YOGA for challenging me physically, mentally, emotionally. I’m still terrified to do a handstand on my own but I know one day it will become second nature. For a studio that embraced my ambition this year to make moves, find community and work through my troubles on the mat.

KITTEN for shining a light on the importance of patience and filling my home with consistent affection. On my worst days, he’s there to greet me at the door and won’t leave my side until I’m smiling again. And on my best, he lets me smother him with all my goofiness. Call me a sappy cat lady but making the decision to bring him home was both selfless and selfish.  

LONELINESS for teaching me that you really can provide everything you need. I love my ‘me time.’ Some of my closest will debate with me on this but I am an introvert. I need space to feel whole. I also understand that proving my independence (to myself and others) is not necessary, and that I can ask for help. I think for a long time I believed that If I didn’t have to lean too hard on anyone, I would never get hurt. Of course, that also meant I would miss out on the joy of being truly seen. So, I’m taking this opportunity, this gift of loneliness as a challenge to face my fear of getting too close and I’m excited about what’s on the other side.   

GROWTH for pushing me to discover my own limits, or lack thereof? And to truly realize my power. I still have a lot of work to do, but I can now say I’m excited about that. I’ve always loved learning and for once instead of learning about something outside of me, I’m turning inward to celebrate my strengths and forgive past versions of me as I shed them. Growth has brought me hard times, new friends, non-friends, more awareness and enlightenment than I could have imagined.

What are you thankful for right now? It doesn’t have to be grand or life-changing, positive or negative. It really can be anything that makes you feel.


If you’re looking for more gratitude in your life, my friend and fellow Wanderlust Ambassador Asal Dean is on a mission to spread kindness at scale with her Gratitudegrams™️ project. She understands the value of showing yourself and others gratitude and is creating the tools for all of us to make an impact. Just think if we each shared something we’re thankful for every day, it might help make the difficult moments a little easier to bear.  

I’m hoping to interview her soon – stay tuned!