NOURISH A SPIRIT OF GRATITUDE IN UNPRECEDENTED TIMES
Typically, for many of us is a word that instantly fills our mind with thoughts of yellows, oranges, and golds. Leaves falling, full bellies. It warms our hearts, and somehow illuminates our minds.
If I had to guess, though, I would say that the most common image associated with the word “Thanksgiving” is … drumroll, please… the turkey! You can almost small the hot turkey in the oven – pumpkin pie – mmmm.
But Thanksgiving is a week a way here in the “great white north” and what if we took a moment to think about Thanksgiving from the “gratitude,” “gratefulness,” or “appreciation” notes. Maybe it is a little less enticing as a pumpkin pie recipe on Pinterest, but deep down, fostering a spirit of Thanks is something we all want; we gather because we want something more than a delicious meal.
This is 2020 and, to say the least, the year has been Unprecedented, Unpredictable, Transformative. A year of division, challenge, and change. Where people keep using catch phrases like, “we’re in this together,” and yet negativity reigns.
Nothing is set in stone.
But everything is up for grabs.
Hold tight.BEN, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, MEDIUM.COM
It is well known that thankfulness is highly linked to happiness. And in such a time as this, how can we resolve to practice the art of Thanksgiving in our daily life? How can we make this holiday something we celebrate not just yearly, but monthly, daily, or even moment-by-moment?
When we shift to a gratitude mindset, we begin to see our world, our day, our challenges in a new light and open ourselves up to the opportunity to live free. Free of anxiety, free of depression, free of comparison.
Between today and next Monday, I am going to share with you some ways to shift you perspective (because, really, that is all it is). But you still have the giant job of “choosing”
Gratefulness needs to be built into our everyday.
The following are 3 ways to start including gratefulness into your world.
1. BE PRESENT
In everyday and in everyway, we want to start a practice of being present. To be present simply means fully enjoying the moment that you are in. It is when you are focused on what you’re doing without thinking about anything else. That’s when life is more real.
There was a time, a long, long time ago, before texting and Instagram and tiktok, that strangers made eye contact in doctor’s offices, people smiled at one another on the street, and people focused on the road. They also had time to slow down, and be present.
Rather than sitting in “boredom,” silence and time when less is going on are opportunities to be still and reflect. They are the times that we get to really slow down our body and mind and a first step in working on creating a true spirit of Thanksgiving.
Take a moment. Try it out. How freeing is it when we actually do this?
Take in your surroundings.
Sit with your kids.
Finding beauty in the simple.
Only then, when we make ourselves available with empty hands and open eyes, will we be able to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.
It is amazing how we are able to control our feelings when we slow down and are simply are present.
2. GROUND YOURSELF
“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.” – Lionel Hampton
Now that you have taken a moment to slow down, it is time to stop and smell the roses!
When you start to become more observant – using your senses, you allow yourself to be grounded in the moment.
Take in the aroma of a good cup of coffee, feel the warmth in your hands, sit in it and experience the moment.
Breathe in the smell of freshly baked cookies. Close your eyes and breathe it in.
Enter into experiences, and let gratitude infuse all your senses.
Use your senses – sights, sounds, touch, smell. Go for a walk and start naming the things you can see, hear, feel. Experience the moment – the entirety of the moment. Start naming them now. What is around you? look intently. Ground yourself in the present.
3. WRITE DOWN THE BELESSINGS AROUND YOU EACH AND EVERYDAY
Today, I want you to look around and find the goo things that have happened today.
a good cup of coffee
a peaceful drive to work
the laugh of a child
a random conversation that was positive
the glow of the moon
anything that made you feel warm or smile – even if just for a moment.
“Remember the past with gratitude. Live the present with enthusiasm. Look forward to the future with confidence.” – St. John Paul II
Time marches on, and our to-do lists will always be here. You will never catch up on all the things that need to be done. Gratitude is the one of those things that can take us from a place of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm – to a place of surrender and peace. It is so important for us to be purposeful, to schedule in the things of most importance, to carve out time to reflect and observe. To slow down on purpose.
This Thanksgiving, I hope that you’ll enjoy your turkey dinner (really, savor every bite of it!). When you eat that pumpkin pie, I hope you’ll take the time to take in the scent and compliment the chef. And when supper is over remember “Thanksgiving” is more than an extravagant meal; it’s an opportunity to grow in gratitude every single moment.