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Giving Thanks and Being Grateful

Posted Nov 26 2008 10:18am

Thanksgiving arrives tomorrow and I wish you all a wonderful holiday filled with joy, friendship, love of family and gratitude. I'm going to do some dual wave boluses and test my bloodsugar more than normal, but it will have been worth it. It's going to be a small gatherinthanksgiving.jpgg for me, but I'm grateful for the intimacy of a feast for five and the chance to engage and pay attention to all present. The tradition I love most, which my mom started, is holding hands, saying a prayer of thanksgiving, and then going around the table and telling the person to our left (or right) whatwe're grateful for and love about them. We often have guests, and while they're often shy when its' their turn, I enjoy introducing them to this family tradition.

So this Thanksgiving I want to thank each of you for taking the time to ready my thoughts and words, and being present with me, even if only virtually. Because even though Thanksgiving is followed by the busiest shopping day of the year ("early bird"sales start at 4am!), to me this holiday is all about gratitude. And giving thanks is about waking up in this moment and being here--really being here--and noticing what's around us. Most Americans (and I am oft no exception) are so busy thinking about the next thing, or about their turbulent past, that they have a hard time waking up and looking around at the present moment--the only moment there ever really is. Either that, or we're too busy keeping up with the Jonses--comparing ourselves and our lives to others.

gratitudecartoon.jpgSometimes we can lose ourselves in wondering how we "measure up" to some standard setby our families or by the media. I found myself wanting to present the picture perfect Thanksgiving for my British boyfriend who's with me this year, disappointed at first that we'd have such a small gathering with store bought pie. I was going to make him traipse six hours up to the U.P. a day after arriving just so he could experience a more traditional Thanksgiving feast at my friend's family's house. And then I realized all I had to do was give him my own family's experience, and not some picture postcard version. Wanting to give him the quintessential Thanksgiving experience that I felt I never had in my own family was quite unnecessary. And certainly not coming from a place of gratitude. I was comparing my family to others and we were  coming up short. Comparison is the mind killer. And the antidote is gratitude.

Gratitude requires you to validate our own lives. (And what other lives do we have?) It helps you say YES to the gift that is YOU! The choices you've made and the changes you've gone through - they have brought you here. Even if here is a place that needs a little adjustment, that's okay. There are always gifts in any present moment, and they are abundant. We always have a choice when it comes to how we look at things. Choose to choose gratitude.

My friend, Christine, says she thinks people believe they're being smart if they criticize, complain, and focus on the problems of the world around them. Smart? Maybe. Clever? Sure. But not wise. It is wise to look for and find the knowing place in your heart. It is wise to choose joy. It is wise to
gratitude.jpghonor your riches. It is wise to recognize, focus on and grow the blessings of your life. Use your energy and power of focus to hone in on beauty and on what makes your heart sing. Recognize the spirit in your life. It's all around you waiting to be noticed. In the words of Franz Kafka, "It will roll in ecstasy at your feet."

Gratitude makes you a vessel, waiting to be filled. I carry a tiny notebook with me everywhere I go. In it, I write down story ideas or ideas for poems, blog entries, etc.. I write down quotes I hear. I write down ideas for projects or things to do. As I do that, I become more receptive, and more ideas come to me. Gratitude is the same way. It says, "I am receptive! Send more!" And more arrives. It is a creative act to notice and pay attention to the moments of your life. And some days it really IS an enormous act of creativity to find things for which to be thankful.

Why not start today? Leave a comment and share with the world what you're grateful for.

Wishing you and yours a Thanksgiving full of joy, presence, gratitude and sheer (calorie free) deliciousness!

***I give thanks to Christine Kane, for letting me use a segment of her 'LiveCreative' ezine in this entry. If you want to be the artist of your life, you can sign up for a free subscription to LiveCreative at***

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