Susan Ortolano, M.A., CMRC, PCC
Intuitive Life & Relationship Coach

Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

What’s in it for You?

canstockphoto0193300-reflections  In the early stages of illness I was trying to figure out what happened to me, why, and how to heal it. It was a difficult process and initially I was so focused on trying to figure it out medically, that I was missing the real answers. I was asked the question “what are you getting out of being sick?”

I was appalled, insulted and infuriated that anyone would think there was something in this for me, as if I somehow asked to be sick. I mean seriously…does anyone really want to be sick??

I allowed myself to be resistant to that idea for a bit and looked at all of the losses I had experienced and all I had missed out on. With all of that, why would I ask to be sick? But as someone committed to getting to the inner core of the matter, I finally had to ask myself that uncomfortable question.

 What I came to was the following:

 How I have “benefited” by being sick and then the reality of what really happened-

 1) I got to be special rather than boring or ordinary. Even though being ill has not been fun, it did have me stand out.

 Yes, I may have stood out, but not because I did anything special. It was more of “Oh, poor you.” Who wants that???

 2) I was able to say “no” to things because I didn’t feel well rather than I just didn’t feel like going somewhere or doing things. Somehow a part of me thought that the “being too sick” reason warranted more compassion.

 Actually people have had a tendency to get mad and stop inviting me.

 3) If I failed at something, it was because I was ill rather than because I wasn’t good enough.

  That was a shock to discover but it makes sense to me that it was in there.

 4) I didn’t have to be as responsible for as many things.

 That may have been true but then it prevented me from having things I wanted that required higher levels of responsibility.

 5) People would be nicer to me.

 You would think that people would have had more compassion and be nicer to a sick girl, but that has not been my experience. Many people did not want to have anything to do with me; friends have fallen away; people didn’t always know what to do or didn’t feel they wanted to take time. And some people have treated me like I’m an incapable idiot. Good thing I was able to say “good riddance.”

 6) If I did something fabulous, it was more of an extraordinary accomplishment because I had been so ill doing it, you know, like in the movies…

Ok, I have to admit that people have acknowledged what I have accomplished, but there hasn’t been so much of a “wow, how did you do all of that and dealt with your health at the same time?” You know those movies where the main character has to overcome so many odds, finally does it and at the end of the film, we’re in tears? Yeah, that didn’t happen.


My real insights have been that I have to acknowledge myself; be kinder and more compassionate with myself; trust that I’m special enough; say “no” when I need to without a reason; embrace failure as an opportunity to move in a better direction; and accept the responsibility that comes with the things I want in life.

 I feel blessed and grateful to have learned these things and funny that as I have, my physical condition has improved.  Hmmmmm…..

 So ask yourself the question. I know it’s uncomfortable and even painful, but the freedom on the other side of the question is worth it!!

The Real Holiday Gifts

canstockphotogiftHappy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah….the most wonderful time of the year and all that. It has always been my favorite time of year. The weather finally cools down here in southern California, the lights on houses and trees are sparkling, and there’s a feeling of hope in the air.  But for many, holiday time brings up other issues.

 Holiday time can be filled with so much joy and spirit, but also moments of taking stock of life. Last year for me, after many years of improvement in my health, my body took a nose dive. I became mostly bedridden and spent the holidays wondering what would become of me and how this could happen after so many years of progress and life feeling so on track.

 I chose to take my own advice and look at why this was happening for me rather than to me. I had to let go of any expectations I had of how the holiday season was “supposed” to be and look at what actually was happening. Fortunately for me, I have tools to work with, an awesome husband, some loving supportive friends, and a job I love that I can do from home. I was able to move through this “alleged relapse” and look at all that came my way as the real holiday gifts that were being presented to me.

It isn’t easy looking at what appears as a struggle, difficulty, or immense challenge and considering it a great gift. For many of us, we want what we want and when a certain “self-determined” amount of time passes and we don’t have what we intended, we decide that things are just not working and often that life just sucks! If things appear to be moving in the opposite direction, it really triggers quite a stir and we can get caught up in a cesspool of negative thinking.

 Each alleged challenge comes to us either to make us aware of something in the way of our intention or to let us know there is some false belief internally trying to get our attention so it can be cleared or healed. All there is to do from my view is recognize it, welcome it, release it, and be grateful for it.

I looked at what gifts presented themselves this year. Some are manifestations of intentions I have been working on for a while and some are little nudges letting me know what still lives in my consciousness that needs healing.

 Either way I welcome all as my holiday gifts this year and will use each one wisely!




A Bit About Gratitude

bigstockphoto_Happy_Jump__1686684Yes, Thanksgiving is here and looking beyond turkey, stuffing and cranberries, what does it mean to actually be thankful? How do we welcome gratitude when there are things that seem so far away from anything we would be grateful for?

 Looking at the economy and how so many are struggling financially, it is sometimes hard to see the blessings in life. Living in a body that isn’t functioning so well hardly wells up feelings of gratitude.

 Ultimately it is a choice. I remember years ago when my beautiful niece Maya was 2 weeks old, several of us just sat and watched her. She would move and we would just marvel at her. She made a sound and everyone was so excited. As she grew and developed, we all just gushed over the things she would do. She took a step…wow!! She smiled and said “Dada”…awesome! She seems so smart, so clever, so amazing.

 As kids grow older and we get accustomed to the new “normal”, the moments of awe seem to fade away. Then the criticism steps in and the focus becomes what kids are doing “wrong” rather than what is so fabulous about them.

It is the same with our own outlook on life. I mentioned in an earlier post the first time I was able to go to the grocery store after having been bedridden for so long. I would walk down the bakery aisle and just take in the yummy smell of the bread, cakes, and goodies.

Although I still have an appreciation for it, I notice myself wanting to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible and no longer marvel as much at the fact that I can go to the market as it simply became normal for me.

 It is easy to forget what we once were so grateful for and move on to focus on the latest goal that we haven’t achieved yet and how frustrated we are at how hard we have worked and how far away the goal seems.

 So for this day, in the midst of what may seem to be a struggle to achieve the next thing, what can you be grateful for? Remember when we all marveled at something that today seems so normal and easy.

 Today I am grateful that I can grocery shop with ease. I am grateful for my awesome husband, the new home we are getting, the wonderful clients I have, the beautiful friends in my life, my wonderful family, the parts of my body that are working well and the other parts that are trying, and all of the abundance that has come my way. Today I pause to acknowledge these things and more that at some earlier point in my life seemed nearly impossible.

 Look at the things that used to feel impossible – things when initially achieved felt miraculous – things that perhaps today seem so normal they go unnoticed – and allow yourself to be immersed in the wonderful feeling of gratitude.