“What amazes me is that before we can count we are taught to be grateful for what others do. As we are broken open by our experience, we begin to be grateful for what is, and if we live long enough and deep enough and authentically enough, gratitude becomes a way of life.” -Mark Nepo
Throughout our lives, we pretty much can tell when someone is telling the truth or not and if their words and intentions are genuine or not. Well, the same goes for the expression of heartfelt gratitude. Our gratitude either comes from the heart or pays lip service. It’s either genuine or impure. We are either authentic or a fraud, transparent or all smoke and mirrors. The choice is always ours to make.
The blessings that are bestowed upon us are vast and endless. The more we are grateful for, the more abundance that seems to show up in our lives. And I don’t just mean the abundance that we know as money. Abundance comes in all ways and from a bottomless well called The Universe.
For me personally, gratitude is most certainly a way of life. It is my manifesto for living. That is why I am a self-proclaimed “gratitude junkie.” Much of what we go through in life teaches us to be thankful for all of it….the good, the bad and the ugly. I like to call it the “lessons and blessings.” Here’s a thought though: Why should we have to wait to be broken open time and time again or live long enough before we finally learn to be grateful for all that is?
Furthermore, why should this week be any different that any other week of the year? Just because there is a day that is earmarked on the calendar as “Thanksgiving” and a ton of related paraphernalia flooding our senses doesn’t mean we can’t live each and every single day from a place of deep gratitude and express heartfelt thanks. Think of the shift that would occur if we stopped to give thanks throughout the day and not just at the traditional meal time. By now we know the positive effects that a gratitude practice has on our nervous system and how it promotes health and well-being. Imagine if we all expressed genuine thanks throughout the day? Imagine the impact and shift that would occur in our lives and the lives of others? Imagine.
So on this day before Thanksgiving, I want to share with you with a few questions to ponder. Some of the questions come from a lovely Attitudes of Gratitude Guided Journal by M.J. Ryan that I found years ago. I am not sure if it is still in print but, if it is, it’s something worth checking into. It lays the foundation for a beautiful practice and also makes a thoughtful and meaningful gift. You can choose to journal your answers or perhaps make them part of a family activity this week or even on Thanksgiving Day. It’s a good opportunity to put away the electronics and have yourself some meaningful conversation!
Also, if you and/or your family recently lost a loved one, and this holiday season is the first without at that person, you may want to consider answering these questions as a way of honoring their memory. You can even write them each on a piece of paper, fold each one, place in a bowl and pass it around, have each person pick one and share their answer. I am sure you can come up with your own questions to add to the list. Create away! So here goes:
- How has gratitude brought more grace into your life?
- Has gratitude made you feel more fulfilled? How?
- How can you teach gratitude to others?
- What are some of the ways gratitude comes naturally into your life?
- Do you approach life with a positive or negative attitude?
- Are you a pessimist or an optimist?
- How do you cultivate a true and deep appreciation for what you have?
- What unique gifts have you been blessed with?
- What are you grateful for about you?
- Count the number of ‘Thank you’s” you say during one day. Could you say more?
- How can you teach gratitude to your younger ones?
- Honoring your connection to your ancestors gives you a sense of belonging and wholeness. How do you honor your family? Hoe do you honor their legacy?
- Who have you most learned from in your life?
- Life is a journey on which you become more and more fully who you are meant to be. Who is that person?
When we choose to cultivate attitudes like love, joy and gratitude, we begin to “remake” the world. -M.J. Ryan
May You Know Gratitude
May you know gratitude. May you be grateful for the abundance in your life. May you also be grateful for the people, feelings and experiences that cause you pain and discomfort – they are here to teach you. Express your gratitude everyday and you will find even greater abundance in your heart and in your life with each passing day.
Heartfelt thanks and blessings darlings…today, always, and in all ways!
Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC