Hues of golden red reflected the sunrise on the tall trees outside our window. Lying in bed, I watched the limbs of the tree, shed of its fall leaf coat, sway effortlessly with the whispers of the breeze. The trees tall and majestic in stature, showing their grace by standing rooted, yet flowing with the change of the wind. 

As the sky became light, and the gray of the dawn faded, the naked trees exposed to their flaws and curves provided me with a moment of gratitude. Gratitude for the ability to follow our true north. In a year, where fear, the unknown, and a pandemic has course-corrected plans more than once, it has been humbling to pause and take a look inside. 

2020 has gifted patience, time, and understanding. Life was cruising along in a normal pattern, and then quarantine. In the first moments of late March and deep into April, the struggle was real. Finding myself losing patience, upset there was no “alone” time, and wishing to understand what was happening or what would happen next. And just like a tree, I had to look to my roots. Who was I? And what do I stand for? 

The tears. The conversations. The worry- It was real. 2020 has been a roller coaster of emotions. Many have experienced great loss. Life has kicked us all in the ass a bit. As Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and share gratitude, I am grateful for the kick in the ass of 2020. 

Our true north, our inner compass, is never a straight line. The compass on our phones, in the car,  or the one we can hold in our hands pointing north, is never really pointing to the true north, but always a bit off – magnetic north it’s called. Our path is always easiest and happiest when following our inner compass and practice gratitude. 

We are all on this journey called life, taking some steps forward, pausing and pushing or way along, and sometimes taking a step or two back, but always moving. We flow through the ups and downs, and we celebrate our uniqueness and watch in amazement at our own sense of self. We learn from the difficult times and alter the course. In good times, sometimes we take one too many steps before turning. 

No matter our path, from easy to moderate to difficult, may we find gratitude in our perspective and give thanks this year.

For the time I did not have, I had time to spend with my family. My stepdaughters and amazing life partner. I had time to serve others at our boutique mountain lodge- who were adjusting their path, just like us. 

For the non or misunderstandings, I was able to understand myself at a deeper level. But most importantly understand the needs of others, and understand my loved ones. 

For the lost patience, I gained patience with myself, patience with others, patience for the slower movement of life, and patience for adjusting on the fly.

It’s been an off-beat direction of north this year. It has not been easy, but in the end, one of the most rewarding years. I would not give back the time shared, the love gained, and the perspective of what is really important. 

In giving thanks this year, may you find gratitude in the squiggly lines and everything in between, and may you always follow your True North.