Blessed Thanksgiving! Today we turn our attention towards what we are grateful for in our lives. It’s my favorite holiday. This topic fits nicely with the thread of my previous posts and it’s the perfect day to reflect on the practice of gratitude. Gratitude is the attitude that takes the edge off judgment and comparison and helps us see with the eyes of the soul. It is the best antidote for negative thinking I’ve found. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could practice thanksgiving every day?
When I have a bad day or go through a hard time in my life, I try to find something to be grateful for and shift my focus to that rather than dwelling on the difficulty. For example, when I was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, I remember feeling very grateful that I had 51 good years on my deformed hips. Many people with dysplasia have to have surgeries very early in their lives, often just to get them by until they can get a total hip replacement. Yes, I could have felt sorry for myself and railed against how unfair life can be, and I did have moments of profound sadness, but I saw no purpose in staying there. I needed all my positive energy to move forward with the surgery and recovery process.
Lately, when my recovery is not going as fast anymore, I can get frustrated and focus on what I can’t do. In those moments, I turn my attention to what I can do that I couldn’t do a week ago or a month ago. I focus on my heart and feel gratitude for how much I have healed. This shifts my focus from what I can’t do to what I can do and then everything changes.
During my recovery, I have been constantly moved by the generosity of so many people who have helped me along the way. I’ve softened and grown closer to my beloveds, especially my beloved Scott. I am so very grateful for his presence in my life. I am grateful for the loving family and friends that have supported me, through my whole life.
None of us are an island–we all need others to survive. Today we celebrate with our friends and families. We enjoy delicious food. Many lives and hands brought us the gifts we receive today, and every day. We all face challenges. But it’s easier when we are grateful for the many blessings that carry us through and sustain us.
Start and finish each day with a gratitude. Find something, anything and focus on that for a few minutes. When something challenging comes your way, seek something to be grateful for in the situation. Notice what changes in your life as a result of cultivating gratitude in your life.
Another great practice is to make a list of all the things you are grateful for and read some of it when you feel negativity getting a hold of you. Today is a great day to make a gratitude list.