7 Days of Gratitude: Day 1 Happy National Philanthropy Day!
How serendipitous that on the eve of Thanksgiving week, we are reminded to not only be thankful for what we have, but to also open our hearts and share with others.
Being half Canadian, my family celebrates two Thanksgivings – one in early October and one in late November. Two opportunities to spend time with family, to cook and eat together, to celebrate what we are thankful for. But of course, these dates are arbitrary – why do we need a National Holiday to remind ourselves to be thankful for what we have and to appreciate our families and close friends?
Don’t get me wrong – I love Thanksgiving, and love celebrating both Canadian and American holidays, but I also crave the idea of being thankful every day.
Unfortunately, sometimes it’s easy to forget to do so.
Each day we can choose gratitude over gripe
I had lunch with a girlfriend the other day and, after listening to me for a bit, she leaned in and said ‘You’re awfully cranky – do you need advice, or do you just need to vent?’ (Amazing girlfriend, right?!). I actually hadn’t realized that I was griping so much, that I was focusing on the downs instead of the ups, but she was right. I had definitely become one cranky girlfriend. And yes, I just needed to vent. Of course, the bigger issue is why was I so cranky? I replayed our conversation in one of my middle-of-the-night-my-mind-can’t-stop-spinning moments, and realized my problem: I had been going at full speed, without a break for nearly 2 months. I needed to take a day off, find my center and realign my focus. I needed to be grateful for what I had, not resentful of what I didn’t.
So I did just that. Turns out my 18 year-old son happened to also need a respite and so we stole away for 24 hours to our beach house. We pulled out card games, we read books, we even worked on a new puzzle that I had made from one of my paintings (are you a puzzle-lover? Stay tuned!). And as we sat side-by-side fitting in the pieces I was reminded of how I love spending one-on-one time with each of my family, how I love the quality of light that fills our sunroom, and how thankful I am to have this place to come to where time stands still, there is no internet, and the purpose of the day is simply to just be. Even though we only had a tiny window of time together before other commitments crept in, I am so thankful that we grabbed onto that time and filled it with just being together.
In that 24-hour stolen moment, I was able to reset my focus and remind myself of the importance of slowing down and being grateful for what I have. Because it is only when we ‘put on our oxygen mask first’, that we have the time, energy and grace to share with others.
I am committed to being grateful every day
In the 7 days before Thanksgiving, I am committed to choosing gratitude over gripe. To focus on positivity and on the moments in life I am grateful for.
Would you like to join me?
Let’s set aside 5 minutes each day to focus on what we are grateful for: Is it the taste of chocolate? The way a sunbeam backlights a leaf? The feel of a cozy sweater? A wonderful recipe handed down through the generations? Anticipation of getting together with friends and family? The way a pet leans in to both give and receive comfort?
Keep in mind that there is no right answer: Sure, a grand vacation is wonderful, but remember it is the small things that make each day beautiful. Does only one thing stand out? Or does a whole list leap to mind? Totally ok!
Write it down in a journal or a sticky note or on an old grocery bag (whatever is handy!) and place it in a spot where you can read it again and again throughout the day
Better yet, spread gratefulness by sharing: #7daysofgratitude