These last few years have been a lesson in acceptance, particularly of my limitations. My Can’t Do list is a mile long, and it gets longer every day. It’s easy to feel small and stupid when faced with the cosmic absurdity of one’s human frailty.

Perhaps you burst into tears because you can’t reach the second shelf of the cabinet with your right arm because the radiation treatments appear to have turned your muscles into beef jerky and you have been lax with your stretches. Or maybe you turn on the news and just rock back and forth. You feel helpless.

But I have a trick. A helplessness hack for when despair is thick in the air and visibility is poor. I force myself to think about what I’m able to do and give. Forget all the Can’t Dos. What are my Able Tos? That activates the windshield wipers enough so that I can see the goodness that exists in me and around me, and that I continue to receive if I can just unclench my fists.

When I’m feeling insignificant and unworthy, it helps to remember that what matters is not what I have to offer (which, let’s be honest, isn’t much sometimes), but the fact that I am willing to offer it.

Some questions to get you in the grateful space:

  • What are you glad you can still do?
  • What is something you give that makes you feel happy and full?
  • What brings you hope?

Bits of Gratitude Nanea Hoffman

Get printable full size image here.

Until next week,


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