“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
It’s that time of year where many of us take a moment to pause, reflect, and give thanks for all that is around us. I love this reminder that November brings. In many places, the air is now crisper, Mother Nature has painted a beautiful masterpiece with oranges and reds among the trees (except for here in San Diego, that is), and we prepare for a busy yet exciting winter season ahead. November also reminds us that in the midst of business and everyday chaos, it’s important to make time for something bigger than ourselves. To me, that reflection on something bigger and expressing gratitude brings an essence of spirituality to my life.
Reflections in Your Personal Life
Spirituality can be something that’s unique to each person. It might be how you feel when you are in nature or what you think about when you gaze at a vibrant sunset. It might be that feeling you have when you read an inspiring book or have a few moments of silence in a busy day. It could be a morning meditation, yoga class, bike ride, morning devotional, or the thoughts that arise when you look out at the ocean, listen to a beautiful song, or go on a walk. Spirituality is unique to you. Spirituality is taking time to nurture your soul and reflect upon and remind yourself about the larger purpose of why you are here.
Reflections at Work
My employer understands the importance of taking time to reflect and create meaning throughout our work day. My company realized that it’s so easy to jump from task to task almost robotically, without stepping back to look at the big picture. They understand that when you place a deeper meaning on the work you do and emphasize the “why,” then the “how” becomes much clearer. Each decision we make should be infused with this deeper “why.” Because of this, my employer created a culture in which every meeting begins with a reflection. This reflection could be an inspiring quote, a story, or even an article. These reflections are meant to evoke inspiration, motivation, and wisdom. These moments are meant for us to take a step back before we begin our work to take a deep breath, recalibrate, and remind ourselves of the deeper purpose and vision of what we hope to accomplish. These reflections set the tone of the meeting the way that we hope to set the tone of our new year as we express our gratitude in November. I find that after these reflections, I go into my work feeling inspired, motivated, and refreshed.
Reflections in Healthcare
Health care in itself is an industry that weaves intricately into some of the most wonderful and most challenging moments of patients’ lives. From the birth of a baby to the diagnosis of cancer, there is no denying the significance and sensitivity of the work we do. Those of us in the business of health care have the ability to make decisions that can ease these stresses for our clients and patients. Health care can be complex in itself because it intersects with a diverse array of human experiences and emotions. Through these challenges that our patients and colleagues face, the stresses of work that piles up, the complexity of new regulations, and the ever-changing environment in which we work, spirituality and reflections can bring us the peace and clarity that we desire. It can create order and purpose to guide us in making decisions that will contribute to the greater good. Not to mention, the gratitude that these moments of reflection evoke will allow us to not only focus on what needs to be done, but to assess how far we have come.
Bigger Than Yourself
I hope we can each work to incorporate moments of gratitude, peace, and purpose not only as you sit across from your loved ones on Thanksgiving this November, but throughout each of your days. It will allow us to see each opportunity and task through a different lens, and to never lose sight of our “why.” Taking time to reflect and honor moments of spirituality allows us to remain humbled by our successes and hopeful for the future—because the life we live and the work we do is so much bigger than ourselves.
Alyssa Gallagher is a lead accountant in corporate finance at Sharp Healthcare, a trainer in high-reliability organizations, a Sharp Best Health Wellness Committee member, and a past board member and blogger for the nonprofit Women Inspiring Leaders.