The posture wasn’t comfortable to sustain. We were seated cross-legged, arms raised above our heads, hands clasped, forearms hugged close to our ears. It was the third rotation of being in this position for what felt like ten minutes but was probably more like three or four. “Shift your focus away from the discomfort and turn this into a message of gratitude,” our teacher said. “What do you want to give thanks for?”

Instantly, gratitude for our recent Thanksgiving visit with Emma flowed through me. We had five glorious days together filled with walks and talks, a movie, great food, Thanksgiving dinner with wonderful friends, board games, a bit of cooking together, a quiet Shabbat dinner, the joy of simple nothing-seeming moments that are actually filled with so very much. I raised my arms even higher, straightened my elbows even more, and drew my forearms a smidge closer to my ears. I lifted my heart higher, savoring every minute the three of us had shared.

And just like that, what had been so uncomfortable and nearly impossible to sustain just moments before, became a welcome opportunity to transform physical discomfort into gratitude for all that was ours during her visit, to do with my body what I had done with silent words of thanks for our five days together.

Lesson learned. It’s all about where I place my focus: on struggle and discomfort or upon the blessings.