Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing



Guest Blogger: Nancy Oelklaus

Journey From Head to Heart: Living and Working AuthenticallySeveral years ago when I was going through a very stressful time, someone suggested to me that I make a gratitude list. Up until that time, my philosophy had been to expect the worst; that way, I was never disappointed. To shift from looking for problems to looking for blessings was a profound change for me.

Vividly I remember what that early list was like: I was grateful for gasoline and a car to drive. I was grateful for a friend who helped. It was autumn, and I was grateful for cool weather and nature’s beauty. I became conscious of being grateful.

Gradually, over time, as I practiced gratitude, my ability to appreciate my life increased. To my amazement, the quality of my life also improved.

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving–which for many people is about an abundance of food. This year I have decided to de-emphasize the food and focus instead on being thankful. Today I made a list of people I will call or write for no other reason than to tell them I’m grateful for their presence in my life.

I’m making gratitude a conscious practice. My goal is to tell every person with whom I interact, in person or via email, what I appreciate about them. That includes my husband–and you.

Thank you for reading these emails. It warms my heart and encourages me when you respond in writing or come up to me in a gathering and tell me that something I wrote was beneficial. I’m grateful for my readers. Have a gratitude-filled Thanksgiving!

About the Author

Nancy Oelklaus

Nancy Oelklaus is a personal life coach based in Austin, Texas and the author of Journey From Head to Heart: Living and Working Authentically as well as Alphabet Meditations for Teachers and co-author of Rewriting Life Scripts, with Liliane Desjardins and Irene Watson.

Nancy Oelklaus leads Hye Road Retreats with horseman Lindy Segall. Learn more at

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Recovering The Self is a forum for people to tell their stories. Individual contributors accept complete responsibility for the veracity, accuracy, and non-infringement of their reporting.
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