“To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to harvest;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain;
A time to gain, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear up, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.”
“To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven”
Gratitude as a Practice
I had to learn to be a grateful person. For whatever reason, it did not come naturally to me. I was pretty clueless. Literally, my first realization that it was even an ideal to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” in my life was when the movie “The Secret” came out, and everyone ran out to get their gratitude rocks. I was already nearing age 40 by then, and that’s a long time to live without being overtly grateful.
Well, after I had some sense knocked into me by “The Secret,” I was one of those people who ran out and got a gratitude rock and started a daily gratitude journal. It started with being grateful for 3 things per day, but it eventually turned into a Morning/Evening gratitude journal, which again morphed into a list of 1000 things (all different) that I was grateful for, and on and on. And just a side note here, “things” is the only word I could find that would generically mean “qualities, circumstances, situations, divine appointments” and the like that made it to the list – not just material things.
After much concerted effort and practice at cultivating gratitude, it FINALLY became a habit for me. I am a person who prays daily; typically ongoing, throughout the day, as situations arise and space provides, and when I pray, I have often gone into a long litany of what I’m grateful for that day. I’ve even fallen asleep while in the midst of telling God how grateful I am for this or that.
You see, I learned how to do all this gratitude amidst my huge downfall during the Great Recession. It was great training to be able to be in the midst of tremendous loss of both self-esteem and material wealth, and still be able to find gratitude.
It taught me the value of some things we all take for granted… like a nice, warm bed. Clean sheets and the money to do laundry. The ability to afford healthy food. A hot bath. Clean water from the faucet. Toilet paper! Have you ever been grateful for toilet paper? You should be…. if you’ve been to other countries where, although they might have it, it’s like sandpaper, you’d be grateful for toilet paper too. When the recession took all my finances away from me, I was able to appreciate being able to borrow money from my parents to buy things like toothpaste and toilet paper. No kidding.
Bottom line is that, now, I know how to be grateful and thankful from the bottom of my heart; from a genuine space of realizing I am very blessed to live where I do and have the opportunities and faculties that I have. I realize that, no matter your situation or station in life, there will always be someone somewhere that has it worse off than you. And while you pray for them, be grateful for what you have yourself, and share some of it.
Gratitude in every Season
Very recently, I had two dear friends suffer major loss. One was a young couple with two little boys, and the husband fell to his death in a climbing accident in Yosemite. My other friends had their teenage “up and coming football star” son commit suicide. Both tragedies hit my friends from left-field, and no one saw any of it coming.
Both these friends though, have had years of shoring up their inner-selves with gratitude and thanksgiving in their hearts. So while they’re grieving and experiencing this turn of season in their lives to a “winter”, they know that Spring will come again. Somehow, some way, they have been able to find firm footing with gratitude in this tough season they’re in, because long ago, they started to make it part of their daily practice.
Gratitude on Thanksgiving Day Itself
During this Thanksgiving Season, my wish for you is that you take it easy. Don’t spend so much time stressed out about the food and the presentation and cleanup. Learn to say “no” to extra obligations. Take a pass on some of the hors d’evours you’d like to have but you just don’t have time to make unless you stress yourself out. If you’re tight on finances, take it easy with crazy food expenditures too. Rein it in. Honestly – what do you remember from Thanksgivings past? The food dishes, or the people? I guarantee you, it’s the memory of the people and not the yams that you will cherish.
Make sure you give something away too. I know how it is to have nearly nothing — I once had to ask a local church’s benevolence ministry for $60 of food money. From that food money, I donated $5. But I knew it was important to do a little sacrifice of that $5 in order to create space for abundance to flood in, so I did it. The amount doesn’t matter but the principal does.
I always recommend doing kind things in secret. Drop some food off on some needy family’s porch. Volunteer at a soup-kitchen. Drop a dish off at your church’s group Thanksgiving meal. Remember the elderly. The single parents. The neglected children. There are no shortage of kindnesses you can indulge in and teach your kids to indulge in too. Make generosity and gratitude part of your Thanksgiving this year (and every year) and it will become a beloved tradition.
My Free Thanksgiving Offer For You
In the spirit of gratitude, I’d like to offer you the opportunity to see Module 1 of the online digital business system I’m so grateful to have found myself. If you click this link, it will lead to sign up to get a free trial. You can check it out and see if it’s a good fit for you over the Thanksgiving Holiday.