It is wonderful to see facebook posts of Gratitude and blessing for thanksgiving.
Undoubtably by Wednesday facebook will again be filled with posts grumping about clients, cranky bosses, congested traffic or somebody doing somebody wrong. How do we manifest gratitude on a daily basis? Moreover how do we teach our children to cultivate gratitude.
Oprah tells us to keep a gratitude journal and I have done this. However I think I am normal and let me tell you 3 months is the longest stretch I have consistently kept a gratitude journal. Did it work? For sure a gratitude journal is a fantastic tool to remind yourself of all the wonderful things in our lives. Mine was filled with notes like, thankful that Jim put the kids to bed, grateful for a quiet snuggle with Ashlyn and proud of Ellyna for completing her school project on her own. However, one morning the kids need me and I don’t get to write. The next day I go to write and I ended up working late and am just too tired. I know EXCUSES. I totally agree however this is my truth and my pattren. So what do I do about it ? Those of you who know me personally know that I am a fairly grateful person.
I believe that personal responsibility is the first key to a grateful heart. I understand that I cannot control the events in the world. I cannot control the traffic or the weather. I can however control my response to them. In that state I have a choice, a measure of control, over my reaction. At that moment I can create whatever state I want. My choice or my reaction becomes the outcome. My children, it is my hope, see my reactions and choice to perceived negative situations and learn to model this behavour. I continually talk to them about how they choose to react to situations and people. It is our choice to look at our lives and our decisions with a grateful heart.
A simple example: I saw more than one facebook post last week of “Grocery store hostage”. The situation was that a customer in the front of the line was demanding a price check and slowing down the line. The one post was a halarious rant of being held hostage and the other was a completely grumpy account of how “stupid” people are. Now I do not know the entire situation however this was two different people on my facebook at two different times who do not know one another. I would suspect that the one who made it funny, moved on with her day while the other lady grumped about it several times and re created a grumpy reality. Truthfully how long would you be held up in a grocery store line? Could you take that moment to close your eyes and thing of three thing to be grateful for? What about the person asking for the lowest price? We do not know her story perhaps she just lost her job and is worried about money. If your children are with you could you take that extra five minutes to hug them or teach them about how marketers try and get you to spend more money at the counter with gum and chocolates in pretty packages at eye level. (a blog for another day LOL)
Over the last couple of years with books like The Secret, there has been an abundance of talk about gratitude and how it can enhance and change your life. Gratitude is live changing. We are so very fortunate in this country to have health care and housing and an amazing educational system. We are free to love who we want. We are free to worship in the way that makes our hearts soar. We are blessed to have beautiful seasons and an abundance of food and natural reasorses. We have so very much on a daily basis to be grateful for. However it is easy to get caught up in images of more and the pace of our society and forget what we have.
Next time that unexpected phone bill comes in higher than you planned choose to be grateful for the 20 minute telephone call you had with your best friend in England. When the traffic is congested turn the radio up as loud as you can and car dance. When your child comes home with a story of blame encourage them to look at all sides of the coin and choose their response.
We can be grateful for all of the lessons in our lives.
So next time you see me dancing like a crazy person in my car, know that I am just trying to be grateful for my world!
I am truly grateful for being the co- owner along with my wonderful husband James and artistic director of Move with Grace Dance Studio. I am blessed to have had so many wonderful families through my door and I wish all of you a happy and blessed thanksgiving.