Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
My favorite holiday hands down. I love the food. The family and friend time. The day where the whole point of the day is to be thankful and spend time at home with people you love and that love you back.
I do a gratitude list every day. Twelve things I am grateful for, and embarrassingly so, I have days where I struggle to come up with the twelve. Not because there are not twelve new things to be grateful for every day, but because I get caught up in all the stuff that blocks me actually feeling grateful: feeling entitled, owed, more deserving, disfavored, misunderstood, forgotten, bereft, alone, lost, scared, aggrieved, in pain, depressed. There are literally a million reasons why I struggle to come up with the daily twelve and all of them have to do with self. Viewing the world and its inhabitants from my perspective. Viewing the world as if it exists just for me...
A daily gratitude list helps me, first thing, every day, to remove myself from my own focus and think about others. Think about how very lucky I am to have the life I have, to be the person that I am and that I am NOT the center of the world...even my own sometimes. And that is a good thing.
But it isn’t Happy Gratitude Day today. It is thanksgiving. And that is different.
I have my own twist on this which will differ from what the Oxford dictionary says about each word. Because of how I live my daily life. For me, gratitude is a feeling and thankfulness is an action. I am grateful every single day, hell, I write them down, but I don’t always express my appreciation and thankfulness to others. I share my list with a few people every day. But I do not go around really thanking them for what they bring to my life. That is a whole different thing altogether.
This year, I am starting a thankfulness practice. To each person who texts me today, I am going to thank them for what they add to my life. Communicate the good vibes and feelings they bring to me daily or weekly or maybe just whenever they text me. I am a big believer in using technology to bring us closer...and this seems like a good fit today since I will be traveling home and not really able to be with all those I love on this special day (we are celebrating on Saturday).
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow” — Melody Beattie
For me, gratitude is how I feel. Thankfulness is what I share with others. Thankfulness is action. Yes, I am totally aware that according to Webster and Oxford, I have this wrong...but to me, I don’t. I have a daily gratitude practice. I inventory my life every day and write down what I am blessed with every day. But what my life lacks is a thankfulness practice so I begin today: every person that texts me today will receive a text back from me thanking them for what they add to my life. And I intend to continue this practice going forward. Texting can’t always be about communicating thankfulness but perhaps I can change it to be a little bit more about it.
This blog is not a text but it is a medium by which I communicate my thoughts, my feelings, my pain, my love and my hardship...seems fitting to begin the thankfulness practice right here:
Today, to all the people who read my daily (mostly) writings, I want to tell you all how very thankful I am for your support, your interest and your time. While I am grateful to you, I am also thankful. I am thankful for your presence in my life. I am thankful every time one of you reaches out to me to share that something I wrote, said, cried landed at a similar place in you. I am thankful for your stories, your comments, your sharing of your pain, loss, grief, happiness, redemption and joy. I am thankful to walk this path with each one of you and that your sharing has grown me into the human that I am today. More aware, more in my life and more in yours. It is here that I am my real self. Right here on the screen, tapping out my heart and soul, pulling you into me not only to reflect better who I am but to see that without you, I will always be a lesser me.
I am thankful for this place, for you taking the time to read, for your presence in my life. This blog has become a solace for me, a place I can return to time and time again to revisit who I was and share who I am becoming. Without you, I would be less. Without you, I would not have a medium to share what I fear, what I know, what I believe and what I love. I am thankful to each and every one of you. Thank you for being in my life. You all make me better. And I pray that in some small way, I make you better too.