Gratitude and Thanksgiving
Gratitude turns what we have into enough -Aesop
November is usually the month that we all put forth the effort to be more grateful. Thanksgiving is the time that we realize we should focus on what is important and what we appreciate. November brings about the attitude of gratitude, but the truth is, we should be grateful all year through. My hope for you by the end of this post is that you will find the small things, even when life is hard, to feel gratitude in your heart.
Our lives are written before we ever come into embodiment. We choose the people we will have in our lives, the situations we will be in and the outcomes that we hope from the situations. EVERYTHING, everything is pre-written. We then come into the lifetime to start the journey we wrote to happen. While there is free will, the big lessons our soul chooses to learn must happen and so our lives unfold in the manner we wrote in order for the lessons to be learned.
I would like to set up a quick scenario for a soul coming into a lifetime to use as an example for how to find gratitude in a life with highs and lows. Our example child has a rocky start to his life, he is neglected by his mother and for reasons beyond his control, he ends up homeless as a teenager. He has to find a job and starts at the bottom, but works his way up and is able to start night classes. He gets a degree in social work and begins a job with troubled youth. He loves his job and also in the meantime falls in love and marries a wonderful woman. A couple of years into their marriage, she dies in a car accident and he feels alone again. He begins to think that he will never find complete security and wonders why his life is so hard.
All too often, we all experience what our friend in the example has experienced. Sometimes it feels like we just can’t get ahead and it is really difficult to be grateful when we feel like we can’t breathe. However, imagine what would happen if we changed our thoughts of “Why me” to thoughts of gratitude. What if we look at each thing that happens to us or around us as something that we wrote to happen? What if we were able to be grateful that the things happening in our lives were providing us with the lessons we asked for before we came into this life? Each thing happens to us because we wanted to learn a lesson from it. We wanted the growth for our soul.
Using our friend from above, we can see plenty of areas where he could have gratitude. He was provided so many opportunities to grow and expand in love and make his life of value. Yes he went through trials and pain, but he was also given the opportunity to learn from these times. His soul is soaring in love and gratitude.
As I was thinking about the theme of gratitude for Namaste for the month of November, I realized how much I take gratitude for granted. I think about the big things I am grateful for and thank the Source for them; my kids, my husband and my amazing parents and family…but I don’t take the time to be grateful for the small things in my every day interactions. So I researched the concept of gratitude and I challenged myself to make it a part of my every day routine during the month of November. In committing to this, I made it my goal to journal. Research is strong in writing down the things you are grateful for and committing to finding the little things throughout the day to have gratitude towards. What you look for, you will find. Look for things to have gratitude and you will find gratitude…Look for things that prove life is hard and yes, you will find that too.
To be honest, I am terrible at journaling. I always start a journal and go really strong for approximately….a week. A week of writing down what happened in the day, things that I am grateful for and things that I could improve on. Then I would struggle to remember to do it and I would go fewer and fewer days, until journaling was non-existent for me again. So finding things for which to have gratitude was not really the challenging part, but writing them down has been. However, I do see the value of writing them down as many times as you can in a week. I didn’t make every day, but I have made it around four times a week (truly a record for me). When I look back on the small things in the day, I smile because that is really what life is about. I look at the challenging things that I wrote down as a growth for me and I am truly grateful for those times as well.
I am grateful for my life. The great times that were easy to be grateful towards and the hard times that made me wonder “why me”. The “why me” times hold the greatest weight because they made me grow the most and that growth is the greatest gift of all time. Every day is not easy, but every day is a new day. Every new day, we can choose to look for gratitude and love or we can choose to live in the “why me”. I hope to choose the gratitude and love days a lot more than the “why me” days; and this is my hope for you as well.
So this week as we are going into the Thanksgiving holiday and meeting with our family and friends, I challenge you to find the small things for which to be grateful…the challenging things for which to be grateful…the lessons for which to be grateful. I would like to take this challenge just a little further and challenge us all to keep up the gratitude journal all year long and find all of those things for which to be grateful. In doing this, the “why me” days will be less and the gratitude and love days with be abundant. This my friends, is what makes a great life.