The concept of giving thanks should go beyond one holiday and be celebrated daily. It should mean more than pumpkin pie, although being thankful for pumpkin pie is a given, and eating to the point of having to unbutton our pants to be comfortable. Having an attitude of gratitude is a way of life and I know it has changed mine. When I get weighed down and feel like I am sinking I implore my attitude of gratitude to pull me out of the muck. I say out loud for the Universe, God, Higher Power whatever you call it, and myself to hear at least ten things that I am grateful for in that moment. It works every time. No matter how crappy I feel or how much of the short end of the stick I think I have gotten I can always come up with ten things, usually more than ten. I admit that I consciously look for them every day. I will give an example of my ten or so for tonight:
A few days ago I had a paper grocery bag full of glass that I was taking to a recycling area at a local store. This area is in the parking lot, a very busy parking lot. A homeless man was there and saw that I just had one bag so he let me go ahead of him. None of my glass was accepted because it was all tea bottles. I have no idea why that matters. So as I was walking back to my car with my bag of glass the bottom falls out and glass shattered every where. I had no idea what to do. The homeless guy saw this and came over with a broom from his cart and a piece of cardboard and started sweeping it up. He asked for nothing. I am thankful for that man.
Tonight I attended a vegan Thanksgiving potluck for 250 people. I went with some friends from my Sangha. We sat at a table with some lovely strangers and chowed down on wonderfully yummy food. I am thankful for this holiday event and the chance to spend it with friends and strangers. I am also thankful to have had four tables full of yummy, vegan food, no questions or snide remarks about why I won't eat the turkey.
I am thankful for my Sangha and the friendships that I have from it in my life. They are like my Portland family.
This morning I had breakfast with a good friend and we had a nice time just talking. I am thankful for this person in my life and our friendship.
I have a new great niece and another due to arrive any day. I am thankful for these adorable, new family members.
I am moving to a bigger apartment that I will share with a dear friend. I am grateful to be able to make this move in all respects and for my friend being willing to live with me.
My mom recently celebrated her 80th birthday. I am thankful for my mother and her unconditional love and support. I am thankful for her health. I am thankful that my family in Kansas City all got together to celebrate with her.
It really is not hard to walk around with an attitude of gratitude everyday. It is a choice. I say this very confidently because after suffering through a near fatal illness with a few lingering side effects, my husband being diagnosed with stage IV cancer and passing at the age of 41 and my dad passing on my birthday in between those first two events, I could very easily dwell in the muck. I chose a different path in dealing with these things and it serves me well.
Make a list this week and say it out loud as you eat your second helping of turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.
Happy Thanksgiving everyday!!!