Featured Story

Gratitude, Not Attitude … and then Life Happens

Summer is wrapping up here on the East End, and you, as am I, may be reflecting on how it went.

We can begin with all of the best intentions for the summer, focusing on exercise, spending quality time with family and friends, enjoying all of the outdoor activities that the Island has to offer, resetting and relaxing … and then life happens.

Yes, even in paradise, that feeling of being overwhelmed can take over by wanting to do it all in this very short and sometimes bittersweet season.

“The compilation of coordinating schedules, entertaining children, jellyfish and  bee stings, catering to guests, as well as work, fitness, and making sure to have fun, can suddenly take the joy out of what you had imagined as your perfect summer experience, kicking you out of a state of Gratitude, and slipping into “Attitude.”

The truth is, you can’t do it all, so prioritize what is important to you, and make sure taking care of yourself is at the top of that list. If you’re not making sure to “fill your cup,” prioritizing self care, and paying attention to your own inner alignment, your days may not have that “flow,” and leave you wondering where things went awry.

Make a practice of reassessing your values as you move through life. There’s an unspoken pressure out there to have fun, and have the “best summer ever,” but that definition of fun can change as we get older, and recognizing and acknowledging that can bring you ease.

Notice what feels good, and what doesn’t. Honor that. The joy of late nights out with friends may now be found in early morning beach walks alone or with a loved one.

Another practice that comes with time and patience is learning that happiness is a decision, and when the reality of life derails what you had envisioned for yourself, it’s important to just choose to be happy regardless. We have to remember there is always going to be something, and sometimes we just do better responding to adversity than other times.

The key is to respond, don’t react — and if you don’t succeed in that, forgive yourself right away and move on.

Remember that every day is a new day, and we get to reset and re-choose how we respond and react. To remain in gratitude is remembering how blessed we are. When we forget, we can slip into an attitude. How long you stay in that state is up to you. All anyone can do is continue to try to be our best self, and come from our heart and a place of love.

Any sailor can tell you that you don’t need perfect conditions to have a good day on the water. Raquel Welch would tell you that perfection is a prison. Throw the idea of perfection out the window, allow room for life to happen, and make the choice to be happy, again and again. 

Suzette Smith is the owner of Shelter Island Pilates, now celebrating 20 years on Shelter Island, offering private, group, and virtual classes year-round.  Visit shelterislandpilates.com for more information.