In the United States, as we prepare to celebrate the “Thanksgiving” holiday, a wonderful day focusing on all that we are grateful for, but Thanksgiving is something that can be celebrated more than on just one particular day of the year.
Sometimes we look around at our life situations and think that there is not enough to be thankful for. Sometimes we survey our relationships or health challenges and think that giving thanks borders on the absurd. Yet, if we look around us, we can see that we are not alone in our trials, that many others are having to face similar problems. A friend said to me the other day “It seems like I can never get away from stuff. It’s always one thing and then another and then another.” My response, “It’s always going to be there. It’s what makes you better and what makes you stronger.”
Being thankful for life itself is a way of making life better. When we look away from our problems, even for a short time, and generate joy in our hearts, we find that the world seems to change a bit. I do not know why this is so and I don’t really need to know. All I know is that the universe seems to respond quickly to a grateful heart.
A grateful heart is, perhaps, a heart full of “greatness.” Maybe, the way it works is that when we break focus with our problems and we take a break from being miserable, the River of Life flows more gently, more peacefully and more fully through our being.
If you haven’t already, try it for yourself sometime. Stop what you’re doing for one or two minutes and quiet your mind. If you’re really frightened by appearances around you or if your problems seem insurmountable, you may find that stilling your mind becomes a very difficult task. With a little practice, however, a minute or two at a time, it becomes easier.
During this minute or two, think of two or three things or events you are or ought to be grateful for. Feel how fortunate you are to have them. For example, I consider myself extremely blessed to have had my three children. True, there are times when I don’t feel I have the answers to their questions. And yes, there were moments of anxiety and concern, but all parents get those feelings from time to time that way once in a while? With all the ups and downs of being a parent I consider myself the most fortunate person on earth to have my children. They have taught me unconditional love, patience and much more than I can ever list here. I have learned from them and for this, I’m grateful. I give thanks. Every day!
How about unfortunate situations? Am I grateful that my best friend died when we were only twenty-nine? Should I be thankful for that? Of course not! But I am grateful that she was my dear friend for the years we spent together. She was only nineteen when I met her and I was able to experience 10 years of her life and amazing friendship. I am grateful for her love, for her kindness and compassion. And while I would take her back in a heartbeat if I could, I am grateful for all she taught me about life through her death. We could all turn tragedy into divine outcomes if we maintain a spirit of gratitude and if we listen to our heart and soul. It is in our quiet times, in our “thanksgiving” moments that we can hear the gratitude’s voice sing to us. If we listen carefully, we can hear it’s tune, “You are a beautiful child and I love you dearly. Look around you. All that you see is yours. Everything is yours. It always has been. Please unwrap your gifts.”
Wishing you and yours a beautiful day of gratitude this Thanksgiving and every single day!