And so arrives the annual celebration of Thanksgiving, a recognition of the graciousness and help offered to early American settlers, and a reminder to find gratitude for the many blessings of the past year. For your Thanksgiving, there may be meals with friends and family, football traditions, super shopping savings, and perhaps donations to local charities. No matter the way you celebrate the holiday, this is an energetic time of conclusion, of wrapping up the ‘harvest’ of the year and taking stock of all that you’ve accomplished. Take time to appreciate all the hard work, efforts and energy you put into bringing your goals and achievements to fruition! And while it may be easy to look back and see your big wins throughout the year, this is also a time to remember that in each and every single day, there are a million little reasons to be thankful.
The practice of gratitude is less about celebrating these big wins, and more about noticing all the small things that happen, perhaps imperceptibly, to make your life easier and more fulfilling. Yes, it’s natural to be thankful for overall good health, but what about the healthy food, the rejuvenating sleep, the movement of your body that contribute to your health? You may recognize family and friendships with gratitude, for their overall love and support offered. Yet, there are also the regular phone calls, rides to and from work or school, hugs shared every day, text messages asking, ‘how are you?’ and wishes for sweet dreams. These are the small bits which add up to your greater appreciation for your friends and family, and they happen every day.
It can also be easy to take for granted the daily miracles of life which happen without noticing them: the rhythm of your heartbeat, your lungs inhaling and exhaling, your brain relaying messages to process what you’re seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or feeling. The earth producing oxygen, absorbing toxins, providing water and food to nourish your body, invisibly. Electricity running to your home, hot water showering you clean, your car starting, roads safely passable, and you don’t doubt these. The sun rising and warming the earth, and the moon and stars illuminating the darkness of night. In this time of Thanksgiving, may you take pause to remember and recall all these seemingly unnoticeable activities which make your daily life possible.
When times get tough, it can be hard to find gratitude. Maybe you feel hopelessness or frustration, fear or anxiety. In these challenging moments, it can be helpful to reconnect with these invisible forces, taking deep breaths, noting everything around you, and remembering everyone who shows up for you. Take stock of your comfy bed, the clothes on your back, the roof over your head, the neighbors who help, the clerks at the store, the cooks who prepare your food. Everything and everyone contribute to how you experience life. Recognizing these connections brings awareness to your appreciation for them, which puts you in a place of honoring what you already have, rather than focusing on what isn’t available. By sensing back into everything already available to you, supporting you, helping to make your life possible, you shift into a mindset of abundance, which helps you see more clearly, eases worry and offers comfort.
You will always long for more: more money, more time, more love, more sleep, more friends, more food, more vacation, more of anything. This helps you identify goals and intentional actions to achieve even more abundance. After every ‘harvest’ of accomplishment, you have a season to plant new seeds, new ideas, to create anew. This is how innovation happens, and how the progress of moving from horse-delivered mail, to courier systems, to phone calls, to email, to text messages, to live video chats occurs. Remember back to how challenging it once was to stay in touch with loved ones, to share the daily wins, challenges and experiences of life. What thanks do you feel for the immediacy of connection readily available? Living in gratitude starts with holding thanks for what you already have, building upon that foundation, continuing to create new possibilities, achieving new dreams, and then remembering back to everything it took to get you there, with appreciation for all the many sacrifices, contributions and connections along the way.
At this time of Thanksgiving, in the era of grocery stores and Amazon delivery, you likely don’t experience the physicality of bringing in a harvest. However, all around you are markers of energetic fulfillment, of the bounty of your life’s ‘harvest.’ See these in the toils and efforts you put forth every day, in the people who are part of your daily life, and by remembering the many miracles which happen all around you. In doing this, the abundance of your life becomes readily visible. May you celebrate your big wins and the many blessings in your life this holiday, and may you hold gratitude, each and every day, for the less evident gifts, in plentiful abundance all around you.
By Jennifer Rizza, Founder of Newtown Wellness Collective, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher, Healthy Living & Lifestyle Guide