I once heard that if you only say one prayer a day, let it simply be “thank you”.
I do love me some Thanksgiving. Not because I am a Thanksgiving baby. Or the food. Holidays can get lost in the commercialization. I love what it represents, THANKS. Gratitude shines bright in my life as an essential practice. So even though this time of year is synonymous with food and large gatherings and football and shopping, I like to go back to the name itself. Thanks. It is our perspective about holidays that matters. What it reminds us to practice daily in our lives.
Gratitude has helped me during my biggest struggles. I have said it many times. Practicing gratitude reminds me of how blessed I am. How much I already have. It allows me to fill blissfully content.
I go back to a conversation I had with a nice wood-worker two weeks ago at the farmer’s market. It is easy nowadays to get lost in monster of MORE. We want more constantly. More stuff. More money. More food. More ‘friends’. More time. We get greedy in our lust for more.We pack our schedules with more. And then we become slaves to our want of more. We work more. We get lost in the cycle of a job. Chasing money, so we can have or seem like we have more. But then we never actually enjoy our time. Because we waste it at jobs that don’t bring us joy. Or we never take the trips. Or see our families. Or we are tired and grouchy when we do see them. Forget being present, we are ready to numb ourselves out by the time we get home. Have a drink. Get lost in TV. The nice wood-worker was telling me that he retired and started his little business. He also explained how he didn’t have nor did he want a website because he didn’t want it to become a job. It was something he enjoyed doing. And I think about this in my own business, because he is right. Spend time doing what you love. Be more content with what you have than constantly wanting more. Because this also can create a feeling of not having enough. And further of not being enough.
Living in my shed taught me the practice of being grateful. Because that what everything is in life: a practice. We are constantly practicing. Love. Kindness. Forgiveness. Gratitude. Patience. And sometimes we are better at them than others. But when I got rid of most of my stuff. When I physically had less and lived simpler, my eyes were really opened to how truly blessed I was. How rich I am in family and friends. How I have food and shelter and clothes on my back. That I have been blessed with so many God-given gifts and talents. I found my joy and what makes me happy. I often would be so overwhelmed with thanks in my life. Moved to the point of tears. Even in the simplest things. I began to appreciate the small and simple. Simple action. Kisses and hand holds.My nephews sleeping. Smiles and laughter. Truthfully check in for a minute when you are laughing wholeheartedly, how good it freaking feels.
Nature. I really began to spend a lot of time hiking then. In the silence and stillness I found myself and God and guidance. In the woods I found clarity. Clarity on goals and where I was going in the future. When I say that gratitude helped me, I think of this. When we lost our business and were going through bankruptcy and shame and the general feeling of lostness. My identity was tied into our business. I was in another state. I was very unsure of the future and where I was going or even what I wanted. But luckily I was in the mountains. And they called me. And I answered, on repeat. In those perfect creations I found peace and silence and clarity. I vividly remember the hike when I knew I didn’t want to train kettlebells anymore. That I wanted my own business. That I wanted to bake. And since then I have been working on it. But I will also tell you it is impossible to be in the mountains or woods and be unhappy. It is so beautiful and humbling. You and your worries feel small. You feel present. Life is good. You have SO much. And you are taken care of. ALWAYS. I realized this when I began practicing. Because even when I was struggling, I kept faith that things were were always good and that I was taken care of. That I had enough.
Shift your focus to what is going right, rather than dwelling on what is going ‘wrong’. Give thanks daily, that is my first and last prayer every day and at every meal. What are thankful for? Who are you thankful for?