“Shine brightly. See beauty. Speak kindly. Love truly. Give freely. Create joyfully. Live thankfully.” -Mary Davis
As I was in Whole Foods earlier this week, I happened to pick up Natural Awakenings magazine because I was curious to see the featured articles, as they typically vary from county to county. There’s always something to gleam from the articles in this lovely FREE magazine that, as noted in it, is your guide to a healthier, more balanced life. In each issue readers find cutting-edge information on health, nutrition, fitness, personal growth, green living, creative expression and the products and services that support a healthy lifestyle. If you’ve never seen it and happen to stumble across it in your local yoga studio, farmers market, health food store, etc., pick it up. It’s a little gem…a FREE gem.
As I was perusing the magazine, I came across an article by Kristi Nelson titled Why Gratefulness Brings Happiness. By now y’all know I love all things dealing with gratitude and gratefulness, so I decided to do a quick read and had an “aha” moment of sorts. And since today is Thanksgiving Eve in the US, I was inspired to write about how helpful it is to differentiate between gratefulness, gratitude and thanksgiving. I hope I do the article justice!
As per the author, gratefulness is a proactive orientation to life. If you’re like me, you may have just stopped reading and repeated that again – a proactive orientation to life. In its most simplest terms, I believe it primarily means that gratefulness is our modus operandi. We awake each day hard-wired with a sense of thankfulness for all things small and large. We are thankful for waking up, for another day, for our senses, and perhaps even all the functions that our miraculous body conducts during our sleeping and waking hours that we may not even be remotely aware of. In my mind, when we operate from that sense of gratefulness, we are aware of the fullness and vastness of life, the limitless possibilities, the infinite organizing power of the universe as well as our connection to all things.
According to the article, gratitude is more of a response. We respond and are grateful for something that happened, something going well. I’m sure we’ve all expressed gratitude for that new job, a gift, the weather, a parking spot, early dismissal from work/school, a snow day, finding the perfect shoe for the perfect outfit, a sale, finding a partner in love and in life…you get the idea, right? I’m sure we can all come up with a laundry list of “things” for which we are grateful regardless of how mundane or magnificent they may be.
Thanksgiving…this is where I had my “aha” moment. According to Ms. Nelson, thanksgiving bubbles up when we’re so filled with a sense of gratefulness – that great fullness – that we overflow into finding ways to express thanks aloud and in actions, such as delivering praise or being of service. Intersting…I never thought of it that way. I always equated thanksgiving to the holiday. It makes all the sense in the world, when you think of it. Thanksgiving is a day for us to voice aloud our great “fullness” and express what we are most grateful for. Some of us may even be inspired to be of service….and not just on Thanksgiving, or any holiday for that matter. As a matter of fact, most shelters have to turn down people wanting to be of service on most major holidays.
Which brings me to this: we do NOT have to wait for a holiday to express our gratitude, give thanks before a meal or be of service. We can wire/rewire our brains to operate from a place of gratefulness each and every day of our waking life. We can cultivate gratefulness as a way of being rather than some intermittent feeling we have on certain calendar days.
Darlings, I encourage you to take a few minutes each day to pause, be present, connect with your heart, and allow yourself to feel as well as notice all those things for which you can be grateful. Remember that life is but a series of fleeting moments, and each day brings us closer to “our expiration date.” Please be aware of even the simplest and most basic things we take for granted and be grateful. Be grateful for the hard times as well as the easy. The hardships and the successes. The nice and the messy parts of life. The highs and the lows. At the end of the day, and at the end of our lives, I believe wholeheartedly that every single experience we have, as spiritual beings in a physical body, is a lesson and a blessing, don’t you?
It’s really important to take the time to write down the things for which we are grateful. Cultivating gratefulness as well as a gratitude practice changes our lives. If you like journals, then go out and get yourself one that speaks to you. If you need structure, then pick up one that is more structured, provides an outine, or has prompts. As a matter of fact, my dear friend, Nikki, gifted me the perfect Friendsgiving present. It’s called Good Days Start With Gratitude Journal. If you want to cultivate and attitude of gratitude, this is the perfect item to compliment your practice. Needless to say, it makes for a great hostess gift, birthday and/or holiday gift. I believe it’s even appropriate for children. In my opinion, it’s equally important to get children on the gratitude path as early as possible.
You can find the journal on http://www.prettysimplebooks.com or order it on Amazon
So…as a way to express my gratitude and thankfulness for YOU, for taking the time to read my blogs, for following me and perhaps even sharing my blogs with others (please, please, please share), I will leave you with some a few beautiful quotes I selected from the aforementioned journal. Who knows? These quotes may even serve as a springboard for some good writing of your own…Wishing you love, peace and joy on this Thanksgiving Day and all days!
- Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude. -Denis Waitley
- The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. -Oprah Winfrey
- I didn’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find my happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. -Brene Brown
- Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for. -Zig Ziglar
- When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege is to be alive- to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. -Marcus Aurelius
- The small happy moments add up. A little bit of joy goes a long way. -Melissa McCarthy
- When I started counting my blessings my whole life turned around. -Willie Nelson
- I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect – they are much more interesting. -Marc Jacobs
- God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well. -Votaire
- This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before. -Maya Angelou
- When you are grateful – when you can see what you have – you unlock blessings to flow into your life. -Suze Orman
- The true secret of happiness lies in taking interest in all the details of daily life. -William Morris
- Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing. -Camille Pissarro
- Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. -Eckhart Tolle
- Put you heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success. -Swami Sivananda
- If you are gracious, you have won the game. -Stevie Nicks
- Gratitude and attitude are not challenges. They are choices. -Robert Braathe
- Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart. -Winnie the Pooh
- Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present. -Jim Rohn
- Trade you expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly. -Tony Robbins
- I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greatest part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition. Martha Washington
Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude, JTC