Even the calendar has a time for giving thanks, Thanksgiving. That traditional time when families gather to share a sumptuous meal, when there are often enough food choices to have them be the center of thanks. What is giving thanks? For many it means listing those things you are grateful for. That list readily starts with people and things. Perhaps you are grateful for your partner, your children, and your friends. Then there is your home, your car, your latest and greatest toy. How far does your list extend? Are you on the list? There are different levels of gratitude. We often enumerate things as a first step of appreciation. You can start with making a list of what you are grateful for.
People are often aware of things that are important as soon as they lose them. You remember your health when you are sick. You think about how important your energy is when you are tired. Now that health and energy has been brought to mind, do you add them to the list of things you are grateful for?
Where does gratitude fit into your life? Do you go beyond list-making to experiencing gratitude as part of your regular thought process? That is the next level of gratitude. When it is a way of thinking, you incorporate it into your life. You thank those people who do things for you through words, emails and hand written notes. Gratitude is part of what you do every day. Many times every day without thought because it is a habit.
To take it to the level after that, you are grateful for what is. Because you have something, that is enough. As Brian Tracy says, “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” That means having gratitud for the things that feel easier as well as the things that feel more difficult. Do you consider gratitude when it rains on your parade? If you follow Brian Tracy’s words, the rain on your parade will move you a step forward along your path toward your next learning. I remember the time we traveled to Whistler to ski and it was raining. I put on my raincoat and headed for the slopes. I had such fun skiing that day because the slopes were practically empty. We had lunch in the lodge without lines. We skied more vertical feet than usual. The rain on your parade or ski slope may just offer you your next delight.
When you see the rain as an opportunity, you will then view things differently. Wayne Dyer says, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. There can be a new found openness to things that may have looked negative previously. Those challenging things have a positive aspect like the rain.
When you can appreciate all, then gratitude becomes a way of life. The advantages of gratitude are reported to be increased happiness and better health. Even more enticing, according to Anthony Robbins “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” That is appealing. When gratitude is a way of life, then Thanksgiving is just another day to be grateful rather than The Day to be grateful.
©Caron MacLane 2012