With Thanksgiving upon us, we are called to think about the things in our lives for which we are grateful; of course, it’s in the name! We all know that being thankful is important; most of us are taught this as a fundamental value at a young age. There are the typical things to be grateful for that may come in the form of loving relationships, a safe home, family and friends, positive things to do, and good health.
It is easy enough to generate the feeling of appreciation for what I call the big things in life, but it is more difficult to feel genuine gratitude for small things or when you may be in the midst of difficult life experiences or you have faced a lot of adversity. When you are coming from this place the idea of being grateful can feel emotionally heavy. The very thought of trying to be grateful can trigger a lot of emotions that don’t feel good and don’t really fit with gratitude such as anger, bitterness, jealousy, disappointment or even fear. It becomes easier to avoid being grateful, so you don’t open yourself up to these difficult feelings.
If you are not in the practice of gratitude, the initial energy it takes to think about what you are grateful for, and thus generate a true feeling of gratitude, can be a lot of work. It’s a momentum thing – getting started can feel insurmountable, however, once you do get started and begin practising gratitude on a regular basis, it creates a flow wherein the more you experience the feeling of gratitude, the more you will experience the feeling of gratitude.
Gratitude allows peace to come through in times of turmoil. It adds comfort and solitude when we are angry or lost and creates alignment in the universe. In true and life-changing gratitude there is a lovely balance of determined will to create more and a softness of heart for the value in what is whether its health, success, abundance, love, joy, peace; deep-felt gratitude is fundamental to our well-being.
Gratitude is a very important part of my self-care practises and in my life in general. I write down all the small and large things I am grateful for in my journal throughout the day and at the end of each day. Even if I am not really feeling it, I will name it. The very naming them and writing them down can generate the feeling of gratitude which genuinely makes me feel good.
The beautiful thing about this process is that it triggers the occasional random feeling of gratitude for no reason which will bring tears to my eyes – tears of pure joy and well-being.