While I try to be grateful for all I have on a regular basis, I am especially reminded to do so this time of year thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite because I get to hang out with people in my family that I don’t get to see on a regular basis. When I was young, I loved it because my Uncle John would come to our house. He always made everything fun. I now alternate each year with my family and my in-laws. This year I went to my parent’s house. Three of my four siblings were there with their children so there was a good crowd. This week’s post is a reminder to having an attitude of gratitude in your life.
I took a class in college that was all about self-care for people in the helping professions. We learned about meditation, exercise, alternative holistic therapies, and other modalities that supported us to take good care of ourselves. One of the assignments was to keep a gratitude journal for one month. We were to write each day, three things for which we were grateful. The professor qualified this by saying that we were to go beneath the surface and not just write about the obvious (my family, my home, my car). I looked at the assignment as an easy A, but after a couple of days, I was surprised how hard I had to think to come up with something to write. Once I wrote about all the obvious, I started to look at the many small things to which I gave little thought. I saw that I was taking much of my life for granted. The big things were easy to see but there was so much beneath that. I began to look at situations that passed through my day differently. I felt more conscious and connected with my life. I continued writing in my journal after the assignment was over but eventually let it go. I thought about the journal recently and decided that it was time to get back into it.
Being grateful brings the positive into your life. It reminds you of all that you have and brings the focus to that. It is so easy to slip into self-pity, guilt, and shame for all the negatives in our lives. It is easy to put ourselves down and focus on all that is going wrong. Practicing gratitude brings us back to balance and gives us a new view. It gives you a feeling of peace and we can all use some of that.
I’m going to leave you with a poem from Rumi. The poem speaks about being grateful for everything that comes into your life. Happy thanks-giving to everyone.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
From Essential Rumi
Yours in gratitude,