Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks

Turning of the Gingko Leaves

Gratitude is a lifestyle. It's great that there's a holiday to remind us, but it's also a shame that we should need reminding. I remember very clearly the moment in my life when I realized gratitude was an every moment kind of thing. I was in my early twenties, and had been barrelling along, grateful here and there of course. But something shifted, and I saw the value of constant gratitude. Of gratitude for all of it, not just the things that made me prosper or feel good. I started to feed this feeling, and my life immediately became more fulfilling. I was more present and happier. And people noticed. I worked a stressful retail job, but during Thanksgiving week, I taped a big sheet of paper to the counter right beside the cash register, and at the top in bold letters I wrote "I am thankful for:" and I left some pens out beside it. I filled in the first few words, and let it take its course. By the end of the week, it was full, and everyone was so happy as they completed each transaction, reading other's gratitudes and recalling their own.

Unfortunately, I didn't keep up this practice. I let it fall to the wayside when life's stresses overwhelmed me. I would come back for periods, and then forget again. I would get caught up in the stories as we can do so easily. I would forget that the hard things were worthwhile.

Here I am eight or nine years later, and what I have experienced in the past year or two has brought me back to gratitude with a new strength and devotion. I have been so conscious of every little thing, and how it affects my life. And I have been making a greater effort to show people that I am grateful. This practice is very powerful. And it grows and grows.

My wish this Thanksgiving is that we can all embrace a lifestyle of gratitude.

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