“Cultivate the habit of being grateful
for every good thing that comes to you,
and to give thanks continuously.
And because all things
have contributed to your advancement,
you should include all things
in your gratitude.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Happy Thanksgiving day to you. I hope it has been a good day, spent in a way that makes you happy and with folks you love. Thanksgiving is a gentle holiday, and one that I especially enjoy. I try to avoid travel and keep the day as low key as possible.
Whether at home with family, or gathered elsewhere with family, I’m always one of the cooks. And I find satisfaction in creating a warm and satisfying meal filled with the flavors and memories which knit our years together into a seamless fabric of loving.
While we celebrate gratitude and appreciation on Thanksgiving Day, most of us are also gearing up for Christmas this time of year. For many, that means sharpening up our shopping skills and compiling a list of holiday plans and desires. Ironic, isn’t it?
“We should certainly count our blessings,
but we should also make our blessings count.”
Neal A. Maxwell
Thanks-giving is not a passive thing. It isn’t about leaning back in our comfy chairs and thinking happy thoughts.
It begins with awareness; progresses to acknowledgement; stops for a moment to express appreciation and love to others; and then gets down to the real business of using those blessings for the greater good.
Having a blessing isn’t enough. We find ways to make use of the goodness it brings to our lives, to make our lives count for something.
I’ve always thought of appreciation as an active thing; an investment in more joy and productivity. What good are seeds left in an envelope?
“Great things happen to those
who don’t stop believing, trying,
learning, and being grateful.”
Roy T. Bennett
Which brings us back to those holiday desires, which can wake us up and move us forwards.
Whether we’re formulating birthday wishes, sharing a Christmas list, planning a Christmas celebration, or pondering new year’s resolutions; we harness our imagination, our desire, and our personal energies to create a new reality for ourselves.
Gratitude and growth go hand in hand. We appreciate the blessings we enjoy already, and then multiply that sense of happiness and well being into the next step. We express appreciation to a loved one, in hopes they will use that good feeling as fuel for their own growth and evolution.
There is always more to accomplish, more to experience, more to learn, more to do for the benefit of others. We just have to imagine it, and then fuel it with faith and confidence until it materializes in our lives.
Wisdom teachers tell us that our gratitude and appreciation attract more of the same into our lives.
But the reverse is also true: when we complain and focus on what is lacking, when we criticize loved ones and take them for granted; we lose that rocket fuel called ‘love’ which feeds our happiness. When we overlook the tiny miracles and blessings of each day, we put blinders on our hearts and imagination. Eventually, we close ourselves off to the possibilities around us.
“You probably have the ability
to get what you want.
And you likely have everything you need
to be completely satisfied.
But do you also have the ability
to want what you’ve got?
That just may be one of
the most important questions you will ever answer.”
But we all find obstacles in our path from time to time. Perhaps a loved one’s illness or depression makes us put our own lives on ‘hold’ for a while. We lose jobs we need, see the storms of chance change our lives in unexpected ways. Things just don’t go according to plan….
Obstacles become detours, but the path stretches before us for as long as we live. And meeting every obstacle with an open mind, a grateful heart, and determination to find the most benevolent outcome in each circumstance is how we keep moving towards a brighter, happier, more fulfilling life.
“Attitude is everything…” We learn this as children, but practice it always. Our attitude of gratitude serves us well, as we appreciate each and every day of our lives.
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016
A Forest Garden 2017 garden calendar is now available