It’s that time of year again when Thanksgiving is right around the corner. A day of eating into oblivion and watching football or at least having multiple football games stream across the TV from sun up to sundown. Snore. I also think of the Seinfeld episode of Jerry and George eating more than enough Thanksgiving Turkey, drinking red wine and passing out is a great depiction of Thanksgiving. But, it is also a time when we give Thanks. Somehow, as I write that statement, I think about Valentine’s Day, considered the day of Love. I have a difficult time thinking that certain days out of the whole year are designated for certain emotions. Halloween is for fear and horror, Thanksgiving, being thankful, Christmas / Hanukah : Universal Love, Compassion and Rededication, New Years: Joy and renewal, Veteran’s Day for pain and remembrance etc. What about the rest of the year? Is it too much to practice gratitude for a year? What would the world look like if we all practiced gratitude on a consistent basis? What would the news look like? Most important, what would your life look like?
Studies have shown that adopting a daily gratitude practice changes the brain and changes physical health in a positive manner. Positivity (Gratitude) enlivens our cells while negativity shrinks them. (I’ll write more about this in another post.)
Often when times are going our way, we may forget to acknowledge what we have gratitude about or for. Also, when things are not going our way, it’s hard to see all the good, because we’re so focused on what’s wrong instead of what’s going right. But that’s just it, A grateful heart is everyday, not one day a year or when things go our way. Practicing gratitude is being grateful when you’re struggling in your life with work, relationships, or health and when things aren’t going the way you want. I’m not one to say that if you’re not grateful everyday, then you suck or you’re doing something wrong, because quite honestly, I place myself in this pot too. I have to remind myself that when all is well in my life, then it’s Practice, and when it feels like I’m swimming upstream, it’s Game Time. Practice is easy. Game Time, not so much. Being grateful in the midst of fear, worry, not finding the job you want, your car breaking down, demise of a relationship, or a health crisis is difficult. That’s Game Time. Being grateful for those little things in life in the midst of chaos is a skill. A skill that rewires the brain and cultivates the heart.
I have begun with diligence to practice gratitude, and not just a list to recount every morning and every night. I notice that the more I practice gratitude, my heart swells. I feel gratitude and love in my heart and the more I feel love, the more my heart opens. The more my heart opens, the more capacity I have to give and receive Love.
In your lightest and happiest moments, what are you grateful for?
In your darkest or moody times, what are you grateful for?
What are you grateful for now in your life?