Survivor Vignette: Binge Gratitude
So, the holidays can be really hard! It seems to be the busiest time of year professionally and personally. Stress and anxiety can feel as abundant as Christmas twinkle lights. It's easy to focus on all the to-do's and have-to's, the family drama and the plethora of pressure. It is easy to stay busy and ignore the growing anxiety and maybe even hope that one more cookie will fix it... okay, two more cookies... okay, maybe four.
This year at BRANDED, we have started a practice that is quite simple and yet wildly helpful when stress is abundant: a Gratitude Board. Each day we write one thing we are grateful for up on a large dry erase board. It can be simple, like a cup of tea or not hitting any stop lights on the way to work; there is no pressure and no wrong way to do it. It is very simply a step toward Gratitude. It is a mental and physical practice. Taking the time to pause and think and write out one lovely thing... just one. This practice has had a great deal of power over our attitudes and our workspace, and it has opened the door to an abundance of joy!
BRANDED is currently working with two young women who have undergone extraordinary pain and loss. Every day can be difficult, filled with new recovery challenges and setbacks. To see them stand up, grab a brightly colored marker, and write something good on the board is nothing short of a gift. Yes, there are days when finding a lovely thing is hard. But they do it, every time. And every time I am reminded that "there is good in the world, and it is worth fighting for".
Might I suggest that this holiday, as all the good stuff and the stressful stuff is piling up and squeezing in... you pause and think and write down one thing you are grateful for! If this practice works on you as it has worked on me, you will soon find yourself putting down the cookies and binging on gratitude. You will think to yourself, "just one more thing, I just want to write down that one more lovely thing!"
I will end with this: one of BRANDED's workers just made a huge leap forward in her recovery as her own tenacity and the extraordinary staff at End Slavery Tennessee allowed her to reach a milestone this year. Lauren and I (Emily) had the pleasure of piling in the conference room with the ESTN staff and witnessing this brave woman receive what I will call a "monumental moment". There were so many tears and so many hugs and so much applause. Later that day as we were making jewelry, this precious woman smiled and said, "I am the happiest girl that exists in the free world!"
This holiday season we would like to thank you all for being a part of that. When you wear your jewelry, when you make a donation of money or time to ESTN, when you post your Message of Hope, when you share the story of trafficking and continue to raise awareness, you are part of something very special. You are part of helping strong, capable, determined survivors become "the happiest people in the free world".
Thank you, thank you very much, BRANDED family. Hey... look what we are grateful for today!
With so much love and a very Happy Holiday to each of you!
Lauren, Em, PB & RO
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