The Power of Giving Thanks

Today is one of my favorite holidays. I will admit that it has a lot to to do with the food, but more that it is so lovingly prepared. Thanksgiving is an opportunity for family to get together. In my family, the men generally bond over football while the women gather in the kitchen and share gossip while preparing the food. No matter what is going on in the family or where our relationships are, the holidays are a time to cross the battle lines. Laughter is the most bountiful thing I find in the home during this time and that is why I love it. There is nothing I love more than to laugh.

This Thanksgiving reminds me about being thankful. I have read and understood how gratitude can change your life. In the past, I have tried to remain thankful, but something would come along and throw me right back on the negative path. Then one day, I understood what it means to be in gratitude. It’s not just about trying to be thankful for everything that happens in your life. If you try to deny your emotions, it means that you are denying your emotions and feelings. Being in gratitude is to look at your life and search for the things that you have to be thankful for. It’s not about denying the bad things, but instead focusing on what you have to be grateful for. If you focus on what you have to be sad about, it expands. If you can focus on what you have to be grateful for, it expands. It doesn’t actually change your life, but what you focus on within your life.

I have heard many times that I should keep a gratitude journal. In the past, I would start it but stop when I fell into negative circumstances. I was quick to beat myself up and the gratitude journal would be tossed to the side and forgotten.  But, eventually, I could open the journal and see that what I was grateful for on any given day. Sometimes, you have to dig deep and find something to be thankful for. Sometimes the warmth of a summer breeze and the feeling of the sun on my skin were the only things that I had to be thankful for. It teaches you to look for the good in life instead of being consumed by the negative. I am making a promise to myself to be more diligent in this practice, because I am now ready to focus on the positive. I am ready to see my life transform.

When I write in my gratitude journal today, I have to be thankful for family, food and laughter. I can also be thankful for the beauty in the changing leaves. It’s as if the city is painted by an artist. I have to be thankful for love and the ability to express it. Most of all, I have to be thankful that I have another day to change. I have another opportunity to see the world through different eyes and that I am surrounded by people that forgive me for what I didn’t know yesterday.

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.”- Lionel Hampton

What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!