This AM I received an email that quoted the novelist and essayist Cynthia Ozick, “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”
As I reflected on the relationships and people I’ve met throughout my life, but especially over the past year,
I realized how truly special each and every one has been, whether they be fleeting or one that has endured as and developed into a lasting business association or relationship.
Yesterday morning, I had what would have otherwise been a fleeting mundane moment turn into a connection for which both of us were grateful.
I went to pick up a particular side dish for Thanksgiving dinner with my family at the local market. Because it was early there in the morning, there was only 1 person available to help customers behind 3 very large counters that wrapped around the rear of the market. After the server finished helping the last customer on the other side, briskly walking he hurriedly and apologetically approached me. We began a discussion on why there wasn’t adequate help on the morning before Thanksgiving. That discussion led us to a pseudo political widespread discussion about the mission of the market, people in need of help and support, especially in the US, and distribution of wealth.
After I finished purchasing my items, the server apologized again. But we agreed, that without the unusually long time I had to wait, we likely would not have had that discussion which we both appreciated. In those few minutes we were both grateful for the opportunity to connect around ideas far more important than the waiting time and the items I was purchasing for my family Thanksgiving dinner.
In our busy and stressful lives and hurried lives, we often treat routines as so familiar that we forget we can be grateful for them. It is indeed true that we become so absorbed with our own journey, our desires for success, that we may lose sight of life’s simplest pleasures, connection being one of the most important amongst them.
It made me think about my own family and our practice on Thanksgiving where each member of the family from the youngest to me, the eldest, expresses what we are grateful for. But there is so much more to it than that. That is often fleeting. And, as with other holidays, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparents Day, Valentine’s Day, Veterans Day, we sometimes forget that appreciation should not be limited to those days alone.
One this Thanksgiving, I invite you to begin a practice or writing a gratitude letter, and follow it by starting a gratitude journal if you don’t already have one; or, consider a practice I’ve begun, taking 5 minutes each morning as soon as I awake, and each night before I go to sleep, to literally blurt out all that I’m grateful for. These can be the simplest and smallest to the greatest. It helps trigger a positive mindset during sleep, and is known to help us develop a more positive mindset, overall approach and to be more present.
When reading further about gratitude, I came across quotes that I want to share here. They gave me pause for reflection as I hope they will you.
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others”. Cicero
“Gratitude makes sense of our own past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie, author
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you knew to say your nightly prayer.”
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tollle
Nine-tenths of wisdom is appreciation. Go find somebody’s hand and squeeze it, while there’s time.” Dale Dauten, business coach
“Your bounty is beyond my speaking. But though my mouth be dumb, my heart shall thank you.” Nicholas Rowe, writer
“O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!”
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole lie turned around” Willie Nelson
“I know for sure that appreciating whatever shows up for you in life changes your personal vibration.
You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots.” Oprah Winfrey
“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.”
Henry David Thoreau
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