My first Thanksgiving as Jeff’s wife could not have been more perfect.
(We had a few “disasters” during the process, but even the disasters were perfect.)
Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday because it serves as a reminder of the importance of gratitude.
As I was preparing the meal for my family, I was literally overcome with this powerful sense of contentment and security.
Both of those emotions are pretty unfamiliar to me.
My adult life has been scarred by abuse, neglect, poverty, and betrayal.
As this feeling of contentment began to wash over me, I allowed the deliciousness of the emotion to envelope me, as I became aware of the reality of my life as it is RIGHT NOW, today, November 26,2015.
I no longer live in a world that is full of pain and disappointment.
I now live in a world filled with love, kindness, and security.
The tradition of “Giving Thanks” dates clear back to 1621.
Our ancestors in the United States have been celebrating Thanksgiving since that date.
Historically, throughout Europe, festivals were held after the harvest to give thanks and celebrate together as a community.
Native Americans also celebrated the harvest season.
We continue the tradition today nearly 400 years later.
And as I was cooking for my family…
I realized that for most of us, when we hear the word:
We usually think of turkey and stuffing,
the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade,
and gatherings with family and friends.
We all know that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks,
Yet many times in the hustle and bustle of everyday life,
We forget the importance of gratitude,
not just on Thanksgiving,
But every other day as well.
SO… as I was allowing the beauty of the moment surround me,
I had a really powerful realization about how I had learned through often painful “trial and error” to shift my attitude from:
Fear to Contentment.
From victim to survivor.
And from poverty to prosperity.
I remember reading an email about success and gratitude.
I COMMITTED that very day to list at least 5 things in my life that I could be grateful for.
When I began my “gratitude List” that first day, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to even find 5 things to be grateful for.
But to my surprise, on that first day,
I had 23 things on my list!
That was a HUGE wake up for me.
That one simple act of NOTICING, began to change everything for me.
I realized then just how blessed I actually was.
that was the beginning of the transformation from victim to survivor.
Since then, I have made gratitude a priority in my life.
I have been ferociously committed to seeing the beauty in the world NOT the pain.
So for me, it’s not surprising that the most successful and happiest people on the planet are also the ones who practice gratitude on a regular basis.
However, what might give one pause, is that the most grateful people are also the most successful and the happiest.
Which came first,
The gratitude or the success?
Are these people grateful because they’re successful…
Successful because they’re grateful?
From firsthand experience in my very own life…
I am going to say that everything starts with gratitude.
Gratitude can turn fear into trust and has the power to turn ordinary into extraordinary.
There is no better way to adjust our attitude than through the practice of gratitude.
We now Know that what we focus on today grows becomes our reality tomorrow.
So begin today to let your hearts and minds overflow with gratitude.
For no matter where you are in life, there is always a reason to be grateful.
And when we practice gratitude, everything else lines up for us almost magically.
Consider starting a new tradition in your family.
As you sit together with your loved ones, go around the table and share out loud something that you are profoundly grateful for in your life at this very moment.
Feel the joy that it brings to you in just thinking about it.
This practice alone will shift your energy from where you are to where you want to be.
I have found that this practice creates such a bond of love within my family.
People will often walk into our home and comment on how much love they can feel there. They will stay and visit for hours because they say they don’t want to leave and go back out into the world.
You can create this loving feeling for yourself, in your own home just by the simple act of expressing gratitude for each other.
There is nothing more powerful…
Or nothing more effective at bringing happiness into our world,
than to start by being thankful for where we are right now.
As we enter into this beautiful holiday season and into the new year, let us remember to practice gratitude every day, not just on Thanksgiving.
Let gratitude be the first thing on your mind when you wake in the morning, and the last thought you have as you drift off to sleep each night.
Talk about it,
share it with your loved ones,
And you will be blessed with even more good things in your life.
Make this the first day of a daily practice and watch what happens.
After all, we can all learn something from the most successful and happiest people in the world-
and that is to remember that it all starts with being grateful for the many blessings that we have right here, right now.
As you celebrate this beautiful day, may you remember that we have so very much to be grateful for and may your blessings be abundant throughout the coming year.
It all starts with simply taking the time to practice gratitude as a way of life.
My prayer for you today is that you can all use Gratitude as the powerful too that can and will WAKE YOU UP, so you can SHOW UP, and GROW into the beautiful life that you deserve.