I just returned home from a trip to France. It was the trip of a lifetime and I was beaming when I got back. I swept through the airport, picked up my car, and off I was on a 7 hour car ride home. But that energy was fading quickly, and soon I found myself with a headache, fever, sore throat – the whole 9 yards. I had the flu.
And it wasn’t long after that, when I was laying in bed trying to get better, that I thought to myself: “This isn’t fair.” I had work to do, deadlines to meet, and another trip looming just 3 days later. That was when I gave myself a much needed kick in the pants. Not fair? How could my sickness be unfair? I had so much to be thankful for, and I’m pretty sure getting the flu was just life telling me to take a rest.
So I started thinking about all of the things I am grateful for. Gratitude has been a big part of my life over the last year. I’ve been trying to incorporate it into everything I do and the way I see the world. I’ve long since known that gratitude is one of the top factors in happiness, and so I try to be thankful for each and every little thing that comes my way.
And, since I can’t stop myself, here is even more mega gratefulness spewing your way!
1. I’m grateful that people signed up for the retreat I was hosting in France to make the trip possible, and that I could make 13 amazing new friends for life.
2. I am grateful for the hotel in the Moscow airport so we could get some extra sleep while traveling.
3. I am grateful for getting sick so that I could take some time to rest after an exhausting 12-day trip.
4. I am grateful for my friends who traveled with me and went beyond their assisting duties to make sure I was nourished and feeling good.
5. I am grateful for my husband and sister-in-law who have been taking care of me since I returned.
6. I am grateful for not stepping in a giant pile of lo mein on the sidewalk outside of a restaurant yesterday (that would not have been fun to clean).
7. I am grateful for jumping in a waterfall at sunrise with my new friends (<– Definitely had this flu coming).
8. I am grateful for EVERYTHING!
I believe that the more grateful we all our, the more our lives can thrive…that includes whatever your passion is, be it photography or otherwise. I create in a much more fulfilling way when I focus on the good things in my life. My mind is free to find inspiration when I am not tied down by negativity.
What 3 things are you GRATEFUL for that happened last week?
Alex McCombie - Feel better… Summer flu is no fun at all.
Keep in mind that your body may not telling you to slow down, but rather, it’s letting you know that you may have spread yourself too thin on the last trip.
Traveling can be exciting and rewarding but it can be taxing as well.
Maybe next time you can fill your itinerary with some small rest stops as well and vitamin rich goodies to help ward off the creepy crawlers that want to bring you down 🙂
Glad you had a wonderful trip and hope your next one ends better.
brookeshaden - Thank you so much Alex! This is something I am always working on. I had a couple days of down time and practically took a shot of Vitimin C a day, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. Next time, I’ll do my best to slow down and take your advice! Thank you for being so caring!
Alex McCombie - See, I should have known you were already doing those things 🙂
You’re right… sometimes you just get the short stick with this stuff. Probably doesnt help that you are being exposed to all sorts of new regional things as well.
Well, hope you are on the mend soon and it’s nice to see that you see the opportunity to focus on all the good and remind us all that no good comes from dwelling on the downside.
Patty Brown - HI Brooke, I am grateful for my niece who’s name also is Brooke, I am sending you a video of her that a friend did. I am so grateful that she is my niece! She is in school now to become a makeup artist and its a battle everyday for her just to get through the day. She loves it, like you with your creativeness with photography, perhaps soul mates in a way, lol. I see such passion with both of you. Here is her video that a good friend of hers made.
Thank you to for all your inspiration, I so enjoy your work which inspires me to be more creative.
brookeshaden - Patty, that was so incredibly inspiring. Thank you for sharing with me – I will take that sense of optimism everywhere I go!
Elisabeth on Earth - Thank you for this opportunity! I loved hearing about your best things that happened to you, and so glad you enjoyed France. I love France. Feel better soon. 🙂
1. Having breakfast out on our deck, overlooking the neighbor’s pond. Eggs from the happy chickens at the farm down the street, added fresh herbs from our humble garden, and chèvre from a local creamery.
2. Taking a nap with my husband and my pooch, all snuggled up together. Not a common thing, so it was super special.
3. Finding a hooded rain jacket that I LOVE. I’ve been keeping an eye out for a rain jacket for years, but finally found one that’s very me ~ tapered waist, tiered (slight) bell shape at bottom, and an extended lining in the sleeves that have thumb holes, so it looks like you’re wearing fingerless gloves. So excited.
I also have a journal at my bedside in which I write one thing that happened each day that made me happy. Just a single sentence. Even on the crappiest day, it forces you to find that one thing that made you smile. It’s so much fun to flip through it and read other entries. 🙂
brookeshaden - I love everything you said so much Elisabeth! You’ve made me smile ear to ear. I am so happy that you find so much goodness in the world!
Amani - Awh Brooke, I hope you feel better and get some rest <3
I find myself doing that quite often too- being grateful in the moment, but then I don't hold on to it. Thank you for this, I think I want to do what you suggested too, writing down things I'm grateful for every friday.
Last week, I was featured in a magazine so that was the highlight of my week and I'm sooo grateful for it. The second thing might not be a big deal but it is to me: I had an honest conversation with a friend, and it was scary because it felt like I was in a way exposing myself. But that friend was extremely supportive so I'm grateful for that, both the friend, and the feeling that I can be who I am without worrying about driving people away.
And the last thing, which just happened, I never would've thought I'd give it much attention but when you mentioned point 6 I realized yeah, I'm so grateful for that. I was making coffee and my cat was waiting for me to feed him, I didn't see him behind me so when I stepped back I tripped and almost fell and I know that if I did, it would've been bad. But I didn't :p so yay!
I miss you!!
Marisa - You are a light in the dark, Brooke. I miss you already!
I am thankful for a wonderful experience in France, meeting 13 new people who I hold dear to my heart. It’s quite incredible to feel such a connection after such a short period of time and I will cherish it always. I am also thankful for my amazing husband, who not only encouraged me to go to France without him, but sat and let me babble on about it non-stop when I returned. He’s my biggest fan. I’m also grateful for social media, which is sometimes my nemesis, but allows us to stay so connected even though we are truly spread out across the world.
I hope you get to feeling better. I look forward to the next time our paths will cross. <3
Robert Cornelius - Wow it sounds like France was a truely wonderful life changing event! Oddly enough I just recently became friends with Kory who attended the retreat! So my first thing I’m greatful for is that that two of my photography friends got to meet and make art and memories together! I can wait to hear all about it and live vicariously through his stories of the trip! Second I’m so thankful that all of my beautiful giant metal prints showed up in time for my art show on Wednesday! And lastly I’m so thankful for back yard BBQ’s on a sunny Saturday afternoons with my fiancée and some of my closest friends. I had such a warm happy weekend and I couldn’t be any happier with where my life is and where it’s heading! <3
Margherita Introna - I am grateful for…
– those that touched my life over the last year, family, friends and strangers <3
– that I had the means and opportunity to host an exhibition of my work this weekend, in collaboration with 3 other amazing local artists that have become kindred spirits and friends
– that I am continuously inspired by everything I touch and feel.
I hope you feel better soon Brooke! Sending you love and healing vibes <3
lovelyn - I agree with you about the importance of gratitude. That’s why I made a 30 Day Gratitude journal that I give away on my site when people sign up for my newsletter. Remembering what you’re thankful for can make all the difference in your day. Here are three things I’m grateful for this week.
1. The time to create art. I’ve been busy, but just yesterday I decided I needed to take some time out to paint and it made a big difference in the way I felt. I need to take that time regularly.
2. I found a really cute purse at a yard sale on Saturday that I’m loving.
3. The opportunity to learn something new. I’m starting a new business and everyday I’m learning something new about how to run it. It really is an exciting time.
Hope you feel better soon. Rest up and take care of yourself.
robin spalding - 1. i am grateful my sister is now home safe from deployment. and that in a month i will be in ca living close to her. that as we get older we grow closer as friends.
2. i am grateful for being asked to do two interviews last week as the responses from people reading them have truly touched my heart. it also shows me my love and passion i have for my work is coming through to people.
3. i am grateful for my husband. everyday i adore and love hime more.
Paulo Alexandre Carvalho - It’s always so nice to hear you, Brooke. Even with this flu, you, at 5 am, made a new Video… We do not deserve this angel! I wish you to be better. There are two things to which I am very grateful, this and every week of my life.
1st – I am grateful for life give me what I need to be happy and make others happy.
2st – I am grateful to have had the luck to one day have found a very special person… you guys know who I’m talking about… 🙂
About the last week, it was exhausting, so…
3st – I am very grateful to know and honor to have a special girlfriend who does not abandon me in my lowest moments that I have this week.
Tom Newforge - Ahhh Brooke.
First I am thankful for my wife in supporting me in the endevour of following one of the artists who inspires me the most in my line of work, out to France. Having no idea of what to expect.
Second, I am so thankful for the amazing artists I met while out there. Each and every one of them in one way or another makes me more creative, more inspired, a better artist, and an all around better person.
Last but not least, I am thankful for you, Kelly, and KD. I didn’t know KD before this retreat but I loved talking to her. Very quick witted and so enjoyable to be around.
Kelly, who I only knew via her online presence, exceeded my expectations. She is an absolute sweetheart and I’m not sure I ever saw her not smiling. You are beyond lucky to have her as your right hand.
Then there is you. I was quite nervous about how this thing would go. Let’s face it. Your quite the celebrity in our world and there’s a lot that comes with that. After five minutes I completely forgot about that aspect and it was like you were just one of the other creatives at the house. You made me feel completely comfortable around you and I felt as though I could truly just be myself. I’m fairly certain everyone else who attended would say the same.
With that said, you gave me so much that makes me a better artist. I’ve told you this before but every time I encounter you, you change something about my workflow permanently. The biggest thing I took from this encounter was to be much more comfortable about who I am as an artist.
Thank you so much for this experience Brooke. It will take quite a bit of doing to truly repay you for what I took from this. I’ve already been piecing together some images and links for another retreat you had mentioned in my free time. Expect to see that soon.
Vanessa - That trip, all this considered, sounds absolutely stellar! I’ve been spending the last week in the mountains of Vermont, where I take a week to myself each year, and I’m grateful for that entire experience.
I’m grateful for my husband, whom I missed dearly this week.
I’m grateful for being able to create while I’m up here. Exploring the environment, finding new inspirations, and growing through the process! https://www.flickr.com/photos/vanessaissleeping/14304400901/
Even though I didn’t get to scale a fence for an in-pool shot 😉
I’m also thankful for you being such a positive force!
get well soon!
Nikolina - Hello Brooke. I love your blog, actually every time I feel down I open it and extracting positive thoughts and that brings my smile and inspiration again. So here are my 3 things:
1. I had my first picture on an exhibition. It was college one but the feeling was incredible.
2. I had a very long walk. Have discovered incredible places and seen amazing view.
3. I spend a day on the beach. I felt the cold water under my feet and the warm sunlight on my skin.
I am grateful because I can enjoy all of these and feel free.
Thank you and get better soon! 🙂
Pam Powell - This is apparently what I need to be working on, being grateful. My devotion last night was on this very subject; how not being grateful or thankful leads you to depression, anxiety, selfishness, among others.
I am thankful for my family, getting to have a date night with my husband, and a chance to build a better house for our family.
Paula-Dawn - Hi Brooke,
The three things I am MOST grateful for are:
1. My six lovely grandchildren and one great grandchild.
2 My two couch potato dogs who give all their love without asking anything in return.
3. My partner. Where else could I find such a cheap cook, cleaner and general dogsbody 🙂
Peace & love
Séverine A. Raynaud - Prenez bien soin de vous^^
1- Thankfull because my husband got the job of his dream, so we are moving from Paris (we are french) to London for 1 year. Amazing opportunities for us!
2-Already 5 persons want to work with me in London (so I will not be so isolated)
3-I find a teacher to learn cello (one of my dream)
A very good week!!!
Jen Sulak - welcome back!!!!!
#1 – i was able to spend extra time with my husband this week – becaue of memorial day and he took off friday….
#2 – i got to hold my grandpa’s hand in the hospital…it was a day i’ll remember for a long time….as he was more himself and not withering away in the bed. He joked around…he seemed to respond to conversations…and i’m thankful i got to see him for maybe one more time.
#3 – the RAIN…we had a lot lot lot of rain this week…and i was happy to listen…to let it pour down and hear the sounds it makes…watch my cat get scared and hide…and then watch the grass grow again after we just mowed. 🙂
take care, get better soon – and hope to see/hear all the wonderful things that happened in france 🙂
SvenlovesFlo - Brooke…sounds like you are feeling better…and I am glad for that…I know when I feel run down I use bee propolis…it is basically what bees use to seal the hive…it is anti-fungal…anti-bacterial…and anti-Viral…and for me it works….but if you are alergic to bee products…you will want to stay away from this product….
onto being thankful…8 years ago my 3 year old Tibetan Terrier named Sven ( he was named Sven waaaayyy before the movie FROZEN came out ) had never barked…well that many years ago I had fallen asleep downstairs on the couch and at 4 a.m.Sven decided to bark for the first time…his bark woke my wife up who was upstairs in bed…she calls down to me…there is no answer…she comes down to find me…blue and not breathing…I had a heart attack…and was 3 days in a coma…so today and every day I wake up and give thanks…especially for Sven and Jane…when I wake in the morning …I am thankul for the new day…I am thankful for being able to see…I am thankful for being able to hear…and today I am thankful for you…for giving us this opportunity. Namaste Brooke Shaden…Be well.
Lynda Adlington - Firstly, I hope you feel better soon. I am always ill after a long flight, its all those germs in a confined space.
1 Grateful that the sun shone and I could spend time gardening ( my head clearing thing)
2 Grateful for a teacher of photoshop that has come into my life
3 Grateful that I have a body that lets me do the things i want
Can’t wait to hear about your time in France Take care
Michael - Hi Brooke,
Sounds like you had an amazing time in France. The timing of your blog to my life right now is impeccable.
My Three Things Today:
1. Sleeping more than 7 hours straight last night, a rarity for me. It does wonders for your mood.
2. The encouragement of others to chase my 25 year old dream of becoming a photographic artist.
3. and now the long one.. I’m grateful for the life of one of my hockey teammates. Around October one of our teammates dropped to the floor of the locker room with no pulse and not breathing. Thanks to the quick actions of many of the team members, through CPR and a portable defib, we were able to bring him back until paramedics arrived to take over. Over the weekend the team was honored at a dinner and given a special award for our actions. At our game tonight, I have the privilege of giving the plaque to our rink. I am very grateful to be on a team that worked together so well and allowed our friend to still be with us.
I am also grateful for finding your blog. Keep on Promoting Passion. Thanks Michael
Beata Rydén - I love to write list of all the things I love in my life. That is a great way of feeling happy! On that list I often write things like: ocean, clouds, dreams, my mother, my boyfriend, friends, nature, art and so on! But writing things every week that you´re grateful for are a great thing to do, because it makes you realize that you might have accomplished more in the past week than you thought. My three things are more social than I actually thought they would be:
1. A visit from a friend that I don´t see very often made me happy!
2. A great evening with some wine and friends and dogs.
3. I finally had some time to start decorate my new apartment!
Bree - Thank you for your video, and for the reminder to be grateful.
The 3 BEST things that happened to me last week:
1. My partner and I found out that we are being sponsored to work and live in Australia (we’re both Canadian) which means that we don’t have to leave the life we’ve created here just to start over again back home. We are THRILLED! It’s a dream come true!
2. I got sick as well! I’ve been battling this a recurring flu thing, and last week I finally began to listen to what it was telling me. I was reminded to trust my body, that it loves me and is always communicating with me and teaching me.
3. I love to bake. I simply adore it. I am currently transitioning to veganism (something I am SO excited about!) and i’ve been concerned that I wouldn’t be able to “veganize” my favourite recipes (you know the ones that bring such comfort and joy in one’s life? I’m a bit of a madwoman about those.), and would have to say goodbye to them. But lo and behold I made the MOST delicious vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies, followed by totally vegan Coconut Blueberry Ice Cream! It’s amazing! Now I am SO excited to explore my new world of baking, knowing that the treats I make are not only ethical and wayyyy healthier, but damned delicious!
Lastly, I am grateful for you, and your authenticity. Thank you. 😀
Mary-Claire - In our family, we have a tradition that when we sit down for a family meal, we go around the table, and each person says one good thing that happened to them that day. Even if the day has been terrible, they can say, “Mom cooked dinner.” It makes us grateful for the little things!
1. So happy that school is out for the summer starting today! I love having my children home. If I didn’t have to teach them anything, I would definitely homeschool. 😀
2. I’m thankful for the gifts I’ve been given and the tenacity to make them better.
3. Grateful as always to my husband, who has always supported my work, even when he’s had to put his dreams on hold.
Whispers of Currents and Waves | Amani AlShaali - […] the past few days (the bad stuff), I didn’t break down because I am SO grateful. She wrote an inspiring blog post on gratitude and it helped me feel better about a lot of things. I’ve been having a […]
Diane Miller - Well last week was a tricky one for me but I have lots to be grateful for. 🙂
1. I’m honored and grateful that my boss and top management at my work included me in important decision making last week.
2. I’m grateful for an amazing photo shoot Sunday. It was my first time working with the model who is related to a friend. She was amazing, the sand dunes and lake were amazing. It was exhausting and amazing all at the same time.
3. I’m grateful to have been able to celebrate my mom’s birthday and that my husband and I were able to treat at a nice restaurant.
Thanks for this reminder Brooke! Your posts always make me smile.
Stefan Ladang - I hope you feel better Brooke. And relax a little bit and take a little time for yourself . As said in French à l’aise. The French way.
1) I’m happy I helped lot of people with there computer prolems. To give happiness to work.
2) I’m satisfied about I work on healthy but I can much for it.
3) To go outside and taken photos of nature and share this with other people.
And the best of last month subscribed to the retreat at uk.
I see you very soon in England. 🙂
Sarah Allegra - Let’s see…
1) I’m very grateful to my mom for going WAY out of her way to give me a ride to a place I absolutely HAD to go when I was far to sick to drive.
2) I’m very grateful that I have gotten to work with some of my personal heroes, and will be able to do more of that in the future!
3) I’m very grateful for an exciting business meeting I have on Friday which could usher in a lot of big, wonderful change for me, but even if it doesn’t, it will still be a lovely dinner with some people that I love 🙂
Becky Coe - Such an inspiring thing to do! I’ve been feeling down a lot lately, but I can be grateful for so many things at the same time. This week I jumped in a waterfall too, it wasn’t quite as deep or as deathly cold as yours, but was equally exhilarating I’m sure! I also got to spend the whole day in the woods with my one true love, I should always and will always be grateful for that. Today I went out at the magical golden hour, and got caught in a sudden and unexpected rainstorm. However, I got to see the most beautiful double rainbow across the fields. It was worth getting soaked just to see that. Thank you Brooke for ever inspiring my world.
Orlando Quintero Sierra - Brooke, I’ve gotta say that I stumbled upon your blog today for no apparent reason! I liked your facebook page and I’ve checked out your pics everynow and again, but this is the first time that -just because- I came here and let me tell you, your messages and your way of saying things have genuinely touched me and made me contemplate! I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER AND AN ARTIST!! I AM GRATEFUL…..and as far as this week goes….I’m grateful for the time spent with my wife and dog, for the delicious pasta that I had with my wife at one of our favorite restaurants and for the clients that I have that allowed me to take my wife out and spend time with her and my dog!! Thanks again for the “kick” that I needed!