Collier and Lee Counties Edition
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Letter from Publisher

It seems like every time I turn around lately, there is a new book being published on the power of gratitude. Being grateful for everything is said to affect everything from our health to our happiness.

I notice a significant difference in the tone and flow of my day when I greet the morning sun feeling appreciation for everything in my life. Better yet is when I take the time to journal what I am grateful for, including things I wish for the future, while experiencing the joy of already having it in my life. I nurture this throughout the day whenever possible.

But how do we stay grateful when we encounter events that are painful, fearful or sad? One of my favorite teachers, Matt Kahn (, suggests we simply say, “Thank you for this gift. I receive it fully,” no matter what happens, good or bad…

Thank you for this fear. I receive it fully.
Thank you for this sadness. I receive it fully.
Thank you for this loneliness. I receive it fully.

I discovered that saying this doesn’t make it go away but instead of contemplating whether something is or isn’t a gift, I’ve found it opens the door to new possibilities when I can affirm that each circumstance is a gift, and that I just need to allow it to reveal its next stage.

I had the opportunity to practice this recently when our dear, longtime national editor Alison Chabonais told me she was ready to move on from her 19 years of daily deadlines with Natural Awakenings to repurpose her life. My initial reaction was sadness, followed by fear of not being able to replace her. And then I remembered to open up to the gift this could be for everyone.

To say I will miss her is an understatement, and I will be eternally grateful for our journey together. But opening to the new creative talent we could attract, I am happy to welcome the incredibly experienced and capable Jan Hollingsworth to our team of writers and editors. Of course, our local editor Linda Sechrist continues to work her magic on our regional stories while Jan steps in to collaborate with our national team of writers who will continue to provide much of the content you read each month in these pages.

Change is inevitable, and life will continue to throw us curveballs just to keep things interesting. After all, we are here for soul growth. The soul doesn’t care if we get uncomfortable—it just wants us to wake up!

When I look back on the most challenging, heart-wrenching events in my life, I can see the gifts they all contained, like opening my heart and deepening my faith. Will you look for the gifts the next time something disturbs you? Perhaps “Thank you” will become your new mantra, and your life just might change in miraculous ways.

With deepest gratitude,

Sharon Signature

Sharon Bruckman

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