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Practicing Gratitude
published on November 25, 2015

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~Melody Beattie*

Thanksgiving is an important holiday – one that allows all of us to take a pause…a deep breath…an important step back to bring into the light all of the things for which we have to be grateful. No matter what you might be experiencing in your life – from the darkest of moments to the lightest – finding the smallest ounce of gratitude can help bring you back home to the present moment.

While gratitude is something that can and should be cultivated each and every day, it’s not always easy. Gratitude is a practice – one with which you can infuse all areas of your life. The more it is practiced, the easier it will come. As you begin to include gratitude in your daily routine, take time to notice the positive changes that you may feel – both in your internal world and your external environment.

There are countless ways to give thanks this holiday season and throughout the year. Here are some simple ways to begin (or continue) your gratitude practice:

Create a gratitude journal. Whether you chose the morning or the evening, simply allow yourself to be present and write three to five things for which you are grateful. Nothing is too small. Nothing is too large. This is simply about cultivating the gratitude muscle and the habit of taking notice.
Become involved in your community. Find a cause that is important to you and donate. Whether you donate time, money, or tangible things, the result will be positive and appreciated all around.
Be one with nature. Take some time to be in nature – either with yourself, others, or a beloved pet. Use your senses to notice the vibrancy of the colors, the scents of the flowers, the texture of the leaves, and the sound of the trees swaying ever so slightly in the wind. Appreciate all that nature provides for us in this world.
Share your appreciation. Compliment those who pass through your life each day. Share your appreciation with family, friends, or even strangers. Pass the gratitude forward.
Thank yourself. Remind yourself of all that you are and all that you do. Allow yourself some special “you” time – sit in a comfortable chair with a cup of tea, light a favorite scented candle, or simply close your eyes, take a deep breath, and say “thank you”.

As you journey through your holiday (and journey through your life), allow yourself to practice gratitude. Start where you are. And if you need to, begin and begin again. Wherever you may be in your life, there can be moments of gratitude. There is no moment that is too small. Celebrate your blessings and the deep connection that we all share with each other, with nature, and with the universe.

Happy Thanksgiving.