woman riding on a horse

Gratitude and Joy: Guidepost #4

It’s been a challenging couple of weeks. I said goodbye to a very dear 4-legged friend. As many of you know, my horse Corvallis has been a close companion, teacher and dear friend. Our connection mirrored the best of relationships with highs, lows, tears and laughter. As anyone who has owned horses knows, there often comes a time when the needs of the horse no longer align with ours and vice versa. At this point the most loving action we can take is to find a new companion and situation that’s the right fit. That was the easy part.

I have to be honest: it feels difficult to cultivate, let alone write about gratitude and joy, yet this is Guidepost # 4: Cultivating Gratitude and Joy by Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark. Perhaps then, it’s the perfect time to do just that:

Saying goodbye or moving-on from a relationship that no longer serves us is ultimately an act of self-compassion. However, no matter how “right” the decision is, it also elicits grief – our emotional reaction to loss. Making the hard decision to let go can also leave us feeling fearful – Am I doing the right thing? Will I be left with regret? Will I ever find what I’m looking for? This is the risk we take when we choose to engage in relationship: loss, pain and heartbreak. So, where in the midst of this grief can we find joy and gratitude? I believe it’s in honoring our willingness to step into the relationship in the first place and recognizing all that we’ve learned from it.

With a bit of distance from the actual “goodbye”, I have been reminiscing with friends and family about Corvallis’s rather large personality. That alone has been joyful. Along with his antics and quirky behavior, Corvallis taught me many lessons, all of which I am forever grateful. To name a few:

  • Patience
  • Loyalty
  • Connection
  • Boundaries
  • Reciprocity

Brené Brown and other mindfulness practitioners say the practice of gratitude is the pathway to joy. If this is so, and I believe it is; then it’s a worthy practice indeed. I still miss my buddy Corvallis – the idea is not to push those feelings away. There is no substitute for deep connection, and for me there’s no question that it’s worth the risk. With each relationship we grow, and along with the work brings tremendous joy. How fortunate I have been to reap the gifts of our connection.

This lovely piece on Gratitude by addictions therapist Melody Beattie spoke to me. I hope you enjoy it:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie

For more on cultivating gratitude, please visit these links:

Unstuck: Live Better Everyday:  https://unstuckcommunity.tumblr.com/post/68074479298/why-gratitude-makes-life-better-40-ways-to-get

Spiritual Health: https://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/cultivating-gratitude-practice

6 Ways To Cultivate Gratitude: https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/12/28/6-ways-to-cultivate-gratitude/

Of course, I would love to hear your comments on this post. What is your experience of the relationship between gratitude and joy?

Thank you for sharing!

With my whole heart,




  1. Beautifully written and very insightful.
    It reminds me of the saying “If you love something,set it free. It will come back to you”
    In this case you let go of something physical and what comes back to you may surprise you. When you begin your journey with a new horse you will be amazed how much you truly learned from Corvallis.
    Everything we do with good intention seems to come back to us tenfold.
    Karma. It’s a beautiful thing.

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