November is the month when our entire country joins together to give thanks and remember the notion of gratitude. Whether or not you resonate with the actual holiday of Thanksgiving, due to the questionable historic events of the day, the essence of the day is a beautiful thing to honor and uphold. Gratitude and appreciation are seemingly the focal points of a happy life. Those among us who live in a state of appreciation, even for the moments or events that seem displeasing, are the most content and certainly the easiest to be around. What is it about thankfulness that makes it so great?
Being thankful is a state of being where one acknowledges all the good that has been bestowed to them. Even the “bad” is “good” when we have the attitude that there is reason and purpose beyond our limited comprehension and if we just let it flow, it might all work out for the best! Ah, but to let go and go with the flow is the tough part for many people. The illusion of control is so very inviting and reassuring for many people, deceptive as it may be. Once we can come to the realization that the only thing we can control is our self, perhaps we can begin to appreciate with even more enthusiasm, all the goodness that is all around us.
On Thanksgiving, it’s suggested that we create gratitude lists in the spirit of the day. I think it might be a good idea to make a gratitude list everyday, even if it’s only mental. For example, before I get out of bed every morning, I give thanks before my feet hit the floor. I take a few moments to lie in my warm and cozy bed and appreciate it. Mentally, I offer gratitude for said warm bed, the roof over my head, the healthy children sleeping around the house, the husband who loves me, and all the extras I get to enjoy everyday. Not a day goes by that I don’t remember or acknowledge that my life is blessed and I believe this keeps me grounded and mostly in a peaceful state.
Now, if your life is not in a place where you like it to be and giving thanks feels phony or inauthentic, or just really plain annoys you, then you’ve probably already stopped reading this blog. Haha, I hope not...if you are still here with me, I offer this to you: start with the basics. You’re reading this, so you must have access to technology, which is something to be thankful for. Do you have a job with steady income? Access to food and clean water? Hot water that magically appears with the turn of a knob? All things to be thankful for and with good reason as they make life better, easier, and more enjoyable. Starting small with what you’re thankful for is all it takes to begin realizing that the world is full of good things if that’s what we choose to focus on.
Like I said in the beginning, gratitude and appreciation are the focal points of most happy people and that is because they consciously make a decision to look for the sweet spots of life. Life can be hard if you want it to be or life can be fun if you choose it to be so. Washing the dishes can be a mundane boring chore or it can be a chance to appreciate warm water running through your hands, bubbles that make little prisms, and the fact that you have food with which to dirty plates. A slight change of perspective has the ability to change your life, for better or for worse. Should you decide to focus on the flaws, the annoyances, the irritants, it’s likely that you too will become more annoyed and irritable. However, should you choose to focus on the beauty, the wonder, the joy, and the opportunities all around you, it’s quite predictable that you will become more joyful, wondrous, and able to follow the bread crumbs which lead to your own personal happily ever after.
It should be noted here that in order to focus on the good, one must first notice the good. In order to change one’s perspective, one must be willing to look around and at new things previously unrecognized or altogether unseen. This applies both literally and metaphorically.
So, as we head into this much anticipated holiday filled with food, family, and friends, prepare yourself with remembering all the good life has to offer, focus your thoughts on the ones that make you smile, and show up as a beacon of light. Maybe for one day, we can all forget politics and divisive subjects and instead come together with the intent of genuinely giving thanks and living in appreciation, even if only for a day (but I do hope we can all carry it over for as long as possible).