Thanksgiving: 10 Expressions of Gratitude
It's easy to get caught up in life's dilemmas and become blinded to all that is good in our lives. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, November is the perfect time to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for.
When I started this article, it was a confusing time for me. Too many things seemed uncertain in my life, there were several changes taking place and challenges to be faced. Gradually, everything came into focus, and I've learned that no matter how bad things get, they never stay that way, and there is something positive to be taken from every stressful experience. So, there is always hope, and that's something else I'm thankful for.
1. My Best Friend
For whatever reason, I've been fortunate enough to have someone in my life whom I share a deep connection with, a special bond. We complement each other well, and we can always rely on one another. We are like-minded, sharing many common interests, core values, and opinions. During disagreements, each of us is able to respect the other's point of view without devolving into a shouting match. We've been through some really rough times, but we've weathered all of it together. That togetherness has made it easier, and it has also made it all worth the effort.
2. Self Expression
I use Hubpages (Squidoo recently dissolved, and all of my lenses became hubs), Zazzle, CafePress, Wizzley, and other platforms to share my thoughts, ideas, photographs, recipes, and designs. I'm slow getting them out there, but I'm still learning how to create and share on various sites. Finding a way to unleash my creativity is proving to be cathartic (and addictive). I hope to improve the quality of my content as I learn more about the technical aspects of sharing online. For now, I am grateful just to have a free place to express myself.
3. My Health
This is one thing too many people seem to take for granted. I'm one of those who prefer to take the stairs rather than the elevator. I never make several passes driving around a parking lot in hopes of finding a space that's very close to the building. I'd rather just park and walk, especially if it's a beautiful day. Not everyone has that option, and I am truly grateful that I do. I enjoy the freedom my ease of mobility gives me.
4. A Little Bit of Wisdom
I have volumes to learn, but I have managed to attain enough insight to help me make better choices for improving my life and staying out of harm's way. At times, I'm even able to be helpful to others by sharing some of what I know or have experienced. It seems the more flexible and adaptable a person is, the easier it is for him or her to gain the essential knowledge that cannot be derived from books. I notice that the more pliable I become, the easier it is to see the big picture and to not dwell on what is illusory.
I come from a very dysfunctional family, and I am thankful that I am made up of the stuff that allows me to rise above that and better myself rather than settle comfortably into the unhealthy patterns of my relatives.
My practice began with a Bikram class. It was much more challenging than I had anticipated, and that's why I kept going back for more. Eventually I switched to another studio where Ashtanga and another form of Hatha Yoga were taught. It was a good match, and I'm thankful that I had the chance to learn from some dedicated and capable instructors. Doing so has enabled me to continue my practice at home, now that I am nowhere near a decent studio. I am eternally grateful for my practice and my teachers.
6. The Little Things
Small Doses of Joy
Not everyone has access to the resources most of us take for granted on a daily basis. I am thankful to have access to clean water and nutritious food. Some other seemingly insignificant things that are worth smiling about are sunny days, fall foliage, the sound of birds singing, getting all green lights, and finding money in a coat pocket. Even on the worst days, there is always something to be thankful for.
7. The Great Outdoors
Here is a photo we took on one of our many hiking trips. Getting far away from traffic, modern technology and to-do lists is always such a treat. Every hike, walk through a park, and swim in the ocean is like a mini vacation. Inhaling the fresh air and feeling the sunshine on my skin is rejuvenating, and it always lifts my spirits, even when I'm already in a good mood.
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.— John Muir
8. Alone Time
Not just alone time, but quality time alone. I need time each day to look inward - to get in touch with my own thoughts and feelings. If I don't check in with myself on a regular basis, I notice that I become unfocused and easily irritated. Just a little bit of time each day to be completely immersed in my own thoughts (without a computer, television, or any other distraction) helps me to maintain my sense of equilibrium.
This is something that helps make life's difficulties, both big and small, much easier to manage. I notice myself gradually evolving. For instance, if I blow something out of proportion, I can put it back into perspective much more quickly than I was capable of even five years ago. And, even though my progress seems to stagnate at times, I know that I can only move forward, never back.
There is always light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone has troubles, and it is important to remember that nothing is permanent. Stress comes into our lives, just like joy does. We have to learn to accept the negatives as well as the positives. I try to learn from all of my experiences, even the unpleasant ones. The silver lining is always there; sometimes it's just harder to find.
Alice's Restaurant - Arlo Guthrie
Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without hearing this song!
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© 2011 Sara Krentz