Thanksgiving reminds us of the transforming power of gratitude. Of course, we don’t have to wait for the Thanksgiving holiday to roll around in order to be grateful. Thanksgiving is not simply one day of the year where we express appreciation, and carve up some turkey (or its substitute), to go along with the array of other foods to celebrate the blessings from the past year. We can create a discipline to live in a state of gratitude all the time and realize that gratitude is not a high, but a way of being. When we make gratitude a way of life, we lift our attention to see the gifts given and offered all the time.
We come into this world with a spark of potential for all that is possible, and the sparks we fan with our attention come to full flame. However, when faced with challenging circumstances and situations, we tend to focus on what's missing or wrong in our lives and our world, rather than the positive things that are staring us in the face.
But we can break away from that consciousness by incorporating the intentional practice of gratitude. We have 86,000 seconds every day, and each second is a gift. The least we can do is take one of those seconds to say, “Thank you!” When we speak those words, our minds, like a honing device, will find something to be grateful for.
Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance, notes:
"Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend. When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that's present - love, health, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure - the wasteland of illusion falls away, and we experience Heaven on earth."
Years ago, I was a speaker at an event where the author and poet Maya Angelou was in attendance. I've always admired Dr. Angelou from afar, and it was wonderful to meet her face-to-face. At the end of the program, I asked her if she would say a few words to the audience. I didn't know it at the time, but she had severe pain in her knees and was also in town to be with her son, who was going through a significant health challenge. When she reached the podium to speak, she said, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you." That was enough.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Peace and Blessings,