It is Winter 2023

It is Winter 2023

Brandon Hatton
January 2024

It is winter.

There is an absence of color, flowers, leaves, fruits and at times, for many, a sense that joy is absent too. I find that even many Christmas songs are somehow incredibly sad, or at least melancholic. To boot, many of us have lost loved ones during this time of year or feel the sadness of celebrating a holiday without the people who have passed on before us and that we love so much.

The holidays can be a very difficult time, and sometimes all the Mariah Carey and eggnog in the world won’t help.

Our days are shorter, and our nights are longer. In times of darkness, gratitude is still present. When the things we love so much are not apparent, gratitude is still present. I think a lot about gratitude these days. My initial thoughts around gratitude were just that: How can I think about gratitude more? As I started to “master” the thinking of gratitude, I started to wonder how can I feel gratitude. Now, on my best days, I work to become gratitude.

There are lots of gratitude practices out there including journaling, breathing exercises, and affirmations. I have adopted dozens of practices over the years and have quit just as many. In time, I discovered that no practice sticks if it is not part of my natural day. In this December letter, I will share a bit about my gratitude practice, as I have found it brings light to my days.

I sit at my kitchen table staring at a bowl of oatmeal. I smell it. I am grateful for my sense of smell. It comes to mind all the people who had COVID and lost their sense of smell. I am grateful for my health.

I feel the heat and steam on my face and I am grateful for the warmth it brings my body. It reminds me of my warm house and bed that I have to sleep in every night.

I take a bite. I taste the cinnamon and think of the plant that grew from a seed and was guided into being a plant. I think about the person who harvested this plant. I am grateful for this unknown person and wish them love, as their love will carry onto me through this plant.

I know at one time this spice was transported to me, probably via fossil fuels. I am grateful for the living beings that at one time lived, hunted and died on this planet. And although I am not crazy about carbon pollution, I am grateful for all the energy to bring this food to me.

My grandfather was a grocer and I know how much he worked to make pennies on the dollar. I am grateful I have the financial means to support a local grocer and his family to put this cinnamon on the shelf.

I feel the oats in my body, how it warms me. I am grateful that somehow my body is able to take all this food and convert it into muscles, red blood cells, white blood cells and whatever my body needs. All without any real effort on my part. I just chew. And I am grateful for this miracle that occurs every time I eat.

I continue to chew, take my bowl outside, and finish the meal in the sun. As the sun warms my body, I am grateful for being alive. I thank this oatmeal and the god who brought it to me. And I thank the god who is more than the god I thanked.*

As I look up from my bowl of oatmeal, the day seems brighter. I see beauty in the bare trees and warmth in the memories a cold breeze brings.

At Conscious Wealth, we cultivate abundance. That is our purpose. And what is abundance, but an affirming statement of gratitude. Gratitude for what we have and all that we can be.

In so many ways and in so many stories we have heard from our clients, it has been a tough year.  If I were a betting man, next year won’t be any easier. What I mean by that is there will be turmoil in the world next year… and also there will be miracles to embrace.

I’m wishing you the strength in your moments of darkness this holiday season and to start the new year. I’m also wishing you faith and hope to see the light that is all around us.

Happy Holidays,



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