|Giving Thanks. Namaste.|
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
The holiday season is here. It doesn't feel like Winter to me, since I'm in Arizona. The weather is beautiful. Sure the breeze is a little chilly, but it's still 60-70 degrees F and sunny almost every day. I doubt I would even notice it was Thanksgiving if I hadn't made the mistake to go grocery shopping two days ago.
I thought I would just make a quick trip to my local grocery store to pick up a few items for the coming week. The parking lot was a little crowded for a Monday afternoon, but I didn't think anything of it. When I entered the store, I was bombarded with specials on Pumpkin Spice Everything, and the aisles were jammed with people.
I usually don't mind shopping when it's busy, but there's something scary about people who are shopping for their Thanksgiving meal. They're in a hurry to get through the sea of other shoppers, sometimes even banging up against others' carts to get the line to move. I actually witnessed a race to the last package of cream cheese. As the victor sped off down the canned vegetable aisle with her prize, I couldn't help but giggle when the stock person came out from the back and refilled the entire cream cheese display.
Where is the "thanks" in Thanksgiving? This is supposed to be a time of reflection and gratitude. Are we that stressed out about which side dishes to serve that we have forgotten to take time out to be thankful for all that we have? This is the perfect time to practice kindness meditation or karma yoga. It takes no more effort to be kind than it does to be unkind.
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.” ― Maya AngelouI have made gratitude a daily mindfulness practice. I began a gratitude journal several years ago. Every day, usually before bed, I write down three things for which I am grateful. Here are a few of my latest entries:
- "I'm grateful for this blanket that keeps me warm on cold nights."
- "I'm grateful for my friends and family who supported me in my decision to move across the country."
- "I'm grateful for the clear night sky and the ability to point out a few constellations."
- "I'm grateful for mint chocolate-chip ice cream."
- "I'm grateful I did not see any snakes on my hike in the desert.
|A quiet moment at the Grand Canyon.|
I have made a lot of sacrifices over the past year. Some would even say I lost a lot. I like to think that I gave up a lot to find true happiness. I left a comfortable long-term relationship and our beautiful home that we built together. I am grateful for the freedom to be myself. I moved into a tiny apartment that could not hold even half of my possessions, so I let them go. I am grateful for space. I left the security of a really good job. I am grateful for inner peace. I moved 2,400 miles away with only what would fit in my car to start a new life. I am grateful for courage and support of my friends and family.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” ― Eckhart Tolle
I'm grateful every day. It's a choice that I make even when I would rather not get out of bed in the morning. When I focus on all the people who have been so kind and generous to me in my life, I can't help but smile.