Monday, November 19, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

 Thanksgiving will be upon us in just a few days where we take time to retreat, gather with families and friends to celebrate, and give thanks for all we have. And it is good. (Although admittedly, sometimes family gatherings can put the "fun" in dysfunctional if there are stressors in our family member's lives, or people have overindulged, or the turkey wasn't quite completely cooked). But we truly have much to be grateful for - the lessons as well as the blessings.

It has been my goal over the past year to take time to be grateful each day, and it has truly changed my life. This small practice has allowed me to slowly recognize that there is an opportunity for growth from the obstacles and some sort of blessing will always follow. No longer does slow traffic or a sudden change of plans leave me frustrated. I still have bad days and sometimes there are BIG challenges, but I start off in a much better place than I used to be.

And I've been able to notice the small miracles that often weave their way into our lives without much attention...the sun rising in brilliant palettes of yellows and oranges and purples, illuminating the night sky from below, a different portrait each day....the belly-laugh of a child chasing a squirrel, falling in the crunchy leaves, only to get up again - hair flying wildly behind them, to continue their pursuit wholeheartedly....the person who held the door for me at the grocery store, the parent who picked up my child and brought her home, the student who said "thank you for a great program today", amazing family and friends and colleagues that represent the colorful tapestry of our lives. The list of blessings is endless.

And not only has this simple practice (just a few moments each day of thankfulness) helped me to stay calm in the changing winds and taught me to be flexible, bending like a willow in a storm, but my "attitude of gratitude" has rubbed off on my family. I didn't notice it at first, but I suddenly realized that I was steering my kids toward more positive viewpoints when they faced an obstacle, and I was pointing out what they could be grateful for in a situation rather than sitting in judgment and frustration. It didn't require much thought on my part...my simple daily practice of a few moments of gratitude had eased it's way into more and more of my life.

Life is full of brilliant moments - whether we're experiencing the pain of growth and release of old things we no longer need or life is filling us with great joy and abundance after that challenging time of expansion. For this, I am grateful. For my breath in this body, the chance to be here in this time and space, on this beautiful planet, with loving family, friends, and colleagues, and all those who choose to stop by here...thank you. It is an honor to be here, now. 

May your holiday season open your hearts to the abundance that surrounds your life and may you be filled with the complete joy and love that comes with a simple moment of gratitude. 

Namaste.

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