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How I Started My Gratitude Practice

Written by: Sue Burhoe, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Have you ever been emotionally hurt so badly that you couldn’t move?... Me too.

Have you ever felt broken and unable to be fixed?... Me too.

Have you ever cried so much that your face was puffy for hours, even days?... Me too.

Have you ever been so tired from doing nothing?... Me too.

Have you ever thought it’s not fair?... Me too.

Have you ever missed someone so much your heart aches?... Me too.

Have you ever wanted to not wake up?... Me too.

Have you ever gotten down on your knees and surrendered and asked for the pain go away?... I have.

Have you ever asked for what you wanted instead of what you have?... I did.

One night many years ago, I started my gratitude practice amid my intense grief. I knew about the power of gratitude but completely lost sight of it amongst my pain. Even then, my wiser self knew the cycle I was in was only bringing more of these low vibe feelings. To feel better, I knew I had to have better feeling thoughts. That night I got into my bed with a pen and a notebook to start my gratitude list. At first, I just sat there and felt sorry for myself and thought about how unfair life can be. But this time something felt different. It felt lighter, and instead of shaming and making myself feel badly, I hugged myself and asked, “What do I want?” I felt into this, thinking that I already knew the answer: that I wanted to feel better, of course. Then the real answer came to me.

I wanted to feel better by feeling loved, I wanted to be validated that a terrible thing happened, and it wasn’t my fault. I wanted to be told I was going to be okay.

Hearing myself admit what I wanted felt like a relief and almost impossible to have at the same time. I knew that if I didn’t change my vibrational state, I was only going to continue to get more of what I was currently experiencing. I was hesitant but I picked up my pen and wrote down everything I was grateful for, starting with the most basic things like my bed, food, and my blankets. As I continued, I could feel my vibration shift into true gratitude as I wrote about my kids, a kind gesture from someone, and that I could walk and talk. I understood my grief felt so deep and massive because I had experienced deep and massive love. A new awareness hit me that night that I couldn’t grasp before. I felt myself shift into feeling grateful for so many things. That night I wrote six detailed pages of all the wonderful things that were right in my life. I continued that writing process of gratitude daily for six months. Years later, it is still a practice that I do in my mind every morning and night.

My external need for love and validation faded because I was able to give these things to myself. True self-love, self-compassion, and acceptance come from ourselves. We are not our circumstances. We are pure love and worthy of all life’s goodness. Each and every one of us.

A powerful step to go from feeling powerless to powerful is gratitude. When thinking about or writing down your gratitude list, feel how much you appreciate or how happy this person, place, or thing makes you feel. This is key. Listing things off without actually feeling appreciation for them doesn’t activate the vibration. You must feel it to change your vibrational state. This is where change happens. You can go from barely surviving to thriving with the power of gratitude. Pinky swear.

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Sue Burhoe, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Sue Burhoe is a Grief and Loss Life Coach, Holistic Practitioner, and a Licensed Massage Therapist. Her wisdom runs deep from her personal and professional experience over the past 30 years. In 2014 her partner of 30 years died by suicide, leaving her a solo parent to three children. Less than two years later, she was by the bedside of her dad as he passed from surgery complications. Professionally she spent 25 years working in the medical field.

She eventually left that field to obtain degrees in holistic health, massage therapy, and energy medicine. In 2015 she was certified as a Holistic Life coach, now specializing in grief and loss. Sue uses her vulnerability, warmth, humor, and skills to help clients integrate grief and loss into their life.

Sue is a volunteer with a non-profit for grieving children & families and a healing conversation peer-to-peer volunteer with the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.



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