With Thanksgiving on the horizon, there is a natural reminder to focus on gratitude. But, there’s nothing worse than trying to find gratitude for something you’re not grateful for, like cancer or health problems.

For this reason, we’re here to remind you that you don’t have to try and be grateful for breast cancer! Yes — gratitude can be a very powerful mindfulness practice in the face of a scary and challenging health situation. But, mindfulness doesn’t just happen — we have to practice it by paying attention to what we’re really feeling. And once you’re more in touch with that, it will become easier to notice the good amidst the bad, the joy amidst the sorrow. The heart of gratitude is really paying attention, and attention requires honesty–gradually and continuously built.

In addition to taking advantage of professional counseling or support groups, we suggest taking moments throughout this month to journal or express your honest feelings about what you’re going through–whether as a patient or as a care-giver.

Don’t be afraid if it all feels negative! It might for a while, but expressing our grief is essential. When we don’t, the lines get blurred and we may find ourselves pretending that a bad thing is a good thing… and therefore, never really seeing good things in their often simple and subtle forms.

Gratefulness often starts and ends with small things–that is its power. So, with gratitude, don’t sweat the big stuff. Cancer is awful and that’s why we created For the Girls pink wind chimes to raise money for breast cancer treatment and research – we donate 50% of the purchase price of every chime to organizations fighting and treating breast cancer.

And, while we’re not grateful for breast cancer, we’re grateful we can help, and even more grateful for you–for people who continue even when life is unfair and very difficult. You inspire us!