Gratitude Confetti When Times are Tough

How many times have you been to hell and back? Maybe in this post-election, holidays-are-coming time of year, you feel the embers of hell at your feet right now. Any type of suffering…physical, mental, familial…it’s hard. The only way to get through it is to sort of turn your hell beast into some sort of anti-superhero.

Kind of like this…


Why? Because the saying goes, “what you resist, persists.” The more you DENY that your situation sucks right now, the more it holds a grip on you, keeping you from DEALING WITH IT and moving on. You stay stuck. And you burn up. Ouch.

Painful times can help us grow and discover who we are and what we really want out of life. Whether you are in hell right now because it’s your first Christmas without a loved one, your traditions have changed due to separation or divorce, your kids are away from home, you lost a job or your business is suffering, you’re worried about the state of the country with Trump at the helm…know that no matter what THIS TOO SHALL PASS. In some situations, it means you have to get out of your own way to LET IT.  The gurus say that it isn’t the situation that causes us unhappiness but in our REACTION and THOUGHTS about the situation. In other words, it’s us, not them. It’s our own mind that causes us misery.

So what are you going to do about it? Mope for the next four years…or take action to work on a social cause to make a difference?

Spend the entire holiday in mourning…or do something special to lift your spirits or create a new tradition?

I get that “making the most of what you have” is easier said than done, but it is possible. Is it weird and awkward when you switch up a tradition? Can be. But it can also be better than you expected. I had to learn to let go of the importance of “the date” versus an experience around a holiday because I have shared custody of my kids so I have to be flexible and make sure they experience a beautiful time despite what day we celebrate.

The holidays aren’t the same if a loved one has passed and honestly the holidays don’t have the same BIGNESS as they did when my grandmother was in charge of our holiday merriment – and she’s been gone 25 years. They don’t have the GIDDINESS from when my kids were little and we did the whole Santa thing and waking extra early for unwrapping gifts, either.

Because it makes me happy, I put out holiday photos of the kids when they were little and elfish. This year I even added a photo of my grandparents to my mantle display so I can remember the two decades of holidays spent with them and honor their memories.


Now my kids are older and it’s my third Christmas with the man who recently asked me to marry him. I am so full of love and gratitude and that’s what life is really about, isn’t it?

pic by Valerie Sebestyen
pic by Valerie Sebestyen

My antidote to surviving life’s hellish times is to THROW GRATITUDE LIKE CONFETTI. It’s like throwing water on the fire – extinguishing some of the pain and soothing the burn. Gratitude makes you realize not all of life is so terrible…there’s always something, someone, to be grateful for.

List your confetti…heck, maybe you should even write them down on a  piece of paper, cut them up and throw them over your head. Add the little things, too. I’m so thankful for Lipsense because I can kiss Chris and drink coffee and it still stays on my lips. I’m thankful my daughter is so chatty with me. I’m so thankful for bride tribe of supportive girlfriends. An on and on. List it. Live it. Volunteer. Whatever works to cheer you up.

Namaste. Happy holidays.


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Keep Calm and Write On or Drama Begets Drama?

Is it possible to be at your best creatively when your life is at its worst?

So much has happened lately that disrupts life as we know it. Hurricane Sandy on the east coast, with many writer friends without power, which meant not only no wi-fi or computer to write on, but you could be hungry, cold and wearing dirty underwear to boot.

Then the election happened. Can you step away from the drama that media brings to the election to take time to create?

As much as yoga and meditation and re-routing thoughts have helped me live more “zenfully” as a creative writer and marketer (and wife/mom/human being), I’ll admit my

Avoiding election night drama by going to the theater!

stomach was in knots on election day. And social media is an absolute train wreck pre and post election. Losers whining. Winners bragging. And then feeling disgusted that people think it’s okay to say awful things. YET YOU JUST CAN’T LOOK AWAY. I was sucked in. I really don’t use social media as too much of an op ed vehicle, but I do like to comment on what others’ post. I even found I got in some word count that day for NaNoWriMo, though the next day I was toast thanks to staying up late and watching  the election results. I’d even gone to Mary Poppins on election night!

I simply can’t produce at my best when my life is full of drama.

For me, creativity is an outlet, but I have a tough time stepping into my fictional world if my real world is a mess. Which is why I try to keep my real world as drama-free as possible. The truth is that my fictional world is so full of conflict that the mental intensity it brings to my life has to be balanced by one void of conflict. This doesn’t mean, though, that my real world has to “Mary Poppins cheerful,” either. In fact, lately I’ve had severe lows which prompted me to write (yet another) short story on grief called “Pockets of Hope” about a young adult male coming to terms with what a lost love had meant to him and his future. It will be featured in an anthology with three other grief-finds-hope stories called Hope Floats coming Dec. 20th as an ebook exclusive.

For me, I can utilize a mental state (such as anxiety or sadness or even bewilderment) and create a mini world that I can control. So in a way, it’s my Type A tendency to control things that beckons me to write a story where I literally do get to control the outcome. (Though I’ll always claim the characters find their way out of it.)

I’d love to hear from you. Are able to “keep calm and write on” despite the drama in your life or does drama in actually aid your creative process?


Thanks so much for all of your support on the Something New book launch. 777 people registered for a chance to win a signed copy of the book on Goodreads. The tour continues so stay posted on where I’ll be by following my Malena Lott Author page on Facebook and will actually bump right into the next blog tour called “Sleigh Read” where Buzz Books’ authors will be taking turns discussing the holidays on blogs and giving away ebooks from our line. If you’re a blogger, contact me so we can get you scheduled. malenalott (at) me (dot) com

And this contest is going through the end of November. Email me your receipt for Something New and I’ll gift you one of my short stories on the Kindle.