Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. What are you thankful for? If your life couldn’t be better, do you take the time each day to say “thanks?” If you’re having some challenges in life, can you look beyond them to see what is good? If life is a disaster right now, are you willing to hunt for one simple thing to appreciate? Maybe it’s the song of a bird or the smile of a stranger you meet on the street? That one small thought of gratitude can change your life.
“It is impossible to be negative while we are giving thanks.” Donald Curtis
Gratitude As Daily Practice
Since I’ve incorporated expressing my gratitude into my daily life, I find that this always uplifts me regardless of the specific circumstances of the day. Although I may go over my gratitude list during meditation, I have chosen to take it further than that. At the moment when something good appears, I say “Thank you.” The energy of those words seems to uplift the energy of the experience even further.
Creating a Positive From a Negative Experience
What is perhaps the most challenging for us all is to be thankful for the unpleasant experiences in life. They come into our lives to help us learn lessons although we often only see what we learned in retrospect. In the 1990s, I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I had probably had it for two years before I was diagnosed because I couldn’t remember when I hadn’t been exhausted. Most doctors knew nothing about it or discounted its existence. Fortunately, I was able to find a wonderful doctor through a friend who had it.
I had to radically change my life in terms of going to bed at 9:00 pm, eating only organic food, eating only certain food, taking dozens of supplements, and avoiding stress. In order to afford the treatment, I had to continue teaching full-time. Because I was exhausted all the time, this strict lifestyle seemed overwhelming at first, but it did heal me. Many of the changes became a part of my life even after I healed and have made me very healthy. I have none of the physical problems most people my age do and the ones I have are very minor and don’t limit my activity.
When we can learn something from a negative experience and can feel thankful for the lesson, it transforms our memory of the experience. We can focus on what is good and let go of feeling like a victim. We can be grateful that what we have learned from the challenge makes us healthier or happier or more competent or more loving.
Gratitude Uplifts Us
Do I wish I had not had to go through this experience to learn how to be healthier? Of course I do, but that’s not the point. Like so many things in life, we do the best we can until we learn better. That’s why I’m grateful for the journey. I know that if I stay open, I will continue to learn and that always improves the quality of my life.
On this Thanksgiving holiday, may you be blessed by the gratitude you give and receive. May your spiritual journey enrich your life. From all the lessons you’ve learned, what is the lesson you are most grateful for?
© 2011 Georganne Spruce
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