Meditation teachers, religious leaders, gurus, people of faith and just really wise people from all over the world and varying cultures tout the practice of gratitude. From remembering those less fortunate in your prayers and meditations, to the act of giving back to your community and the world at large, to keeping a personal gratitude journal, there are so many ways to remember how blessed you are.
A few years ago there was this social media trend to celebrate Thanksgiving by posting a thing you were grateful for every day in November. I remember thinking at the same time, “Great idea!” and, “Why not every day?” November is just one month out of the year.
I think it’s funny (both ironic funny and sorta haha-funny) that as Americans, we have this day of thanks right before the biggest shopping day of the year. It’s almost like we want to get it out of the way, our one-day Lent so we can go ahead and get to the spending and self-centeredness of the holidays.
Sure, so many of us are focused on buying gifts for others and filling the stockings for the kids. Many people find this a spectacular time to give back to their communities and donate to charity.
At the same time, I know that I am required to fill out a Wish List to facilitate the purchase of gifts for me. All of this focus on what I want really does make me think of all of the things that I already have: a house, a loving relationship, and wonderful family to be around during the holidays. All of the other things can be procured later or lived without.
And sure, I want another pair of Toms and that perfect salad storage set, and all of the books, but does that stuff really matter?
So, in the middle of all of your shopping and running and airport travel and feeling stressed, maybe take a moment and put a little gratitude out into the universe. Share a little love (and patience) with the person in front of you in line instead of sighing loudly. Smile at your server in the restaurant instead of snapping at her when the order takes longer than usual. Be grateful that you’re the one sitting down with your family, rather than up serving others.
How do you share your gratitude?