Gratitude

In the US, November is home to the celebration of Thanksgiving. Traditionally, this is a time of giving thanks, appreciating family, and celebrating abundance in the form of a feast on the 4th Thursday of the month. The harvesting from October is done. Food has been canned, dried, pickled or salted. People are just hunkering down in preparation for the cold Northern hemisphere winter. So, we stop and give thanks. Grateful for all we have and the abundance that surrounds us.

In this 21st century, the imagery I just described feels traditional, and “old-fashioned.” I look around me in the US, and I see a country that is blessed with an amazing abundance of food all year round. We don’t wait for the harvest any more! I remember, as a child, waiting for the first peaches to arrive in the store … or the first ears of corn … the first blueberries. It is easy to feel gratitude when you receive something that seems rare. We looked forward to those first crops of the year when I was younger. I can’t tell you exactly when it became commonplace to eat anything other than the canned or frozen variety of blueberries in winter. It just sort of slipped in there when I wasn’t paying attention.

It is ironic that we humans find it easier to be grateful when there has been a lack recently filled, rather than when we are surrounded by constant abundance, but there you have it. As I sit and think about this idea, I realize that I lack for nothing that is important to my survival. Nothing. Compared to many people on this planet, I am surrounded by an unimaginable abundance.

I believe that everything from our genetic makeup to our environmental training makes us always strive for more. What we have is never enough. We are never satisfied and so we are constantly striving, reaching, working and grasping toward the next thing. This is not conducive to gratitude, or recognizing the abundance that already surrounds us. On the other hand, being truly grateful puts us in the now. When we can sense how grateful we are for what we have, we aren’t worried about what might happen tomorrow or stressing about what did or didn’t happen yesterday. We look around us in awe – and feel, even for a few moments, just how rich we truly are.

This November, I plan on exploring and expressing my gratitude for the amazing life I have. I remember that, when my daughter was younger, she used to concentrate too much on the one bad thing that happened in any given day. I wanted to change her focus, so I made her tell me every night something she was grateful for. No two nights could be the same. I think I am going to pick up where I left off with her and make a point of including the abundance I recognize in my journal. What I found with her is that, when you start looking for abundance instead of lack, you start seeing more and more of it. I truly believe that where we focus our attention is where we pour our creative energy. If we focus on what is missing, we find more to BE missing. If we focus instead on all that we have, we find more of that too!

My intention for this month is that I am going to practice growing my awareness of all the wonderful ways that abundance is expressed in my life. Feel free to join me!

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2 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. I love how you connected our societal numbness to plenty to this season of gratitude – so poetically put. I also plan on borrowing your daily gratitude practice with my kids one day. Thank you!

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