How do you give thanks? Do you think about it during the holidays when your family and friends are gathered around and everyone is exchanging gifts, and the mood is just right for reflection? Do you count your blessings with a bit of relief when something bad is happening in the world, or to someone you know? Or are you grateful every day for every thing in your life because you know that you are enough, and that you have enough? You’ve heard the expression, “count your blessings” and I am wondering, when and how do you count yours?
Taking a moment each day to “count your blessings” is a clear way to manifest happiness. When you regularly stop to consider what you have to be grateful for, you begin to radiate noticeable, positive energy. Being consciously positive (sans denial or rose colored glasses) is like toting around a luxurious blanket that keeps you cozy within as it insulates you from negativity outside. Blessing counting brings a true sense of well being because you simply stop longing for what you don’t have, and start enjoying what you do. While it is sadly true that there are times when nothing is going right and the world is turned upside down by horrific events, it is important to remember that there is still good in the world, in your life specifically, and in most of the people you will encounter. Knowing you are still blessed during troubling times is important. Mindful gratefulness is something you practice by remembering that good outweighs bad on every level.
A while back I wrote about daily mantras. One of my mantras is quite simple: I say thank you. Who am I thanking? Well, my first thank you goes directly to myself. The person inside me who did all that difficult, soul-searching work to change her life needs to be thanked every day. She struggled for a very long time, and finally overcame some serious business. My daily thank you to her is profound and separate from the rest of my counted blessings. She is who I am most grateful for. In order feel real happiness, the kind of happiness that brings boundless love and joy into your life, you need to do the work first.
I whisper a thank you for my husband. He’s a gem. He is supportive and he doesn’t hold me back. I had to trudge through some nasty mud puddles to make life changes, and he not only laid his coat down for me, he bought me a great pair of boots. I whisper a thank you for my children. Every day, in some way, shape, or form, I am reminded that they are gifted, polite, respectful, funny, giving, adventurous, and talented. They are still so young, but they are swiftly moving away from me, toward their own exciting life journey, and I want them to venture out, unafraid, knowing how much they are loved. I’ve stopped pouring cement into their shoes, and I’ve set them free. They don’t need to drag me and my tales of caution around with them. I’ve decided to love them quietly, from a place that is my own, a space not crowding theirs (from my poem: To Quietly Love You). I’ve made peace with my bitter-sweet goodbyes to their childhoods.
I nod a loving, respectful thank you for my parents, my husband’s parents, and for the memory of my special grandmother, Betty the Best (you can read about Betty here: Betty the Best, and here: I Found A Letter From A Lady). My father was wonderful. He wasn’t an asshole. I not only fiercely loved my dad, but I liked him too. My mother is a treasure. She is loved and celebrated by all who know her. What you see is what you get with my mom. She’s hilarious, independent, and generous. My husband’s parents would give you the shirts off their backs without a moment’s hesitation. That’s who they are. And nothing I can ever write or say about my grandmother will ever do her justice. I will say, though, that my poignant memory of her is a gift and a privilege. These role models are blessings in my life, and that’s why it’s important for me to remember to be grateful, every day.
I offer a heartfelt thank you for my friends and family near and far. The people in my circle are rock stars. You know who you are, and you know how much I love you because I’m not afraid to say it. My loyalty is lasting and true, and I love you.
With Ujjayi breath (click here for more info), I exhale and inhale a thank you to the brave, strong soul inside of me who overcame, at last, a disease that plagued my youth and my adulthood. A disease that stunted my growth as a person, impaired my ability to parent, and debilitated my capacity to generate positive energy. It is eradicated, and I’m openly reborn. I use Ujjayi breath for balance and victory.
And I’m thankful for my running bibs, lined up like a Christmas Tree this year. 15 races. They’re keepsakes because each one is an accomplishment. They symbolize how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown up. Last week, on my “anniversary run,” I somehow received the #1 bib – a sign, in my opinion, from all who have passed, and all in my present, that I’m finally walking my authentic life path. It’s the path to my divinity – my truth and the fruition of my innate gifts. It’s the path that ultimately leads to a treasured, well-lived life. These little signs are everywhere, and they work to keep me whole. They pop up like magic when I practice living with a grateful heart.
Just say thank you. It doesn’t matter how, or when you say it. Just say it over and over again. Who you are, what you have, the relationships you foster, and your own sacred inner light are enough to make you happy. Think about it. You have so much to be thankful for.
~ HAPPY THANKSGIVING ~