I try to live gratefully every day. It’s an active process, one that takes regular reminding and effort, but it’s gratitude, I believe, that is the key to happiness. My whole life, my grandmother’s mantra was, “Count your blessings,” she embodied this philosophy and truly lived with gratitude.
As Thanksgiving approaches, (can you even believe it’s in only one week?!) I have invited several bloggers to share their thoughts and family traditions for this holiday which celebrates this very philosophy of being grateful. I welcome your comments, too, please share your family’s favorite Thanksgiving rituals. Traditions and rituals connect us, they provide a comforting pattern to our lives, and give us a sense of belonging.
When I think of Thanksgiving, it feels warm, it smells wholesome, it wraps me in love and contentment. Thanksgiving is family, it’s togetherness, it’s kids’ tables, laughter, football on TV and board games at the table once the crumbs are cleared. Thanksgiving is my brother’s jokes, feet up on the coffee table, nephews running into a grandpa’s arms, kids giggle in the next room and under foot. It’s cousins playing, it’s enjoying being together and sharing time and space.
Other daily tasks are forgotten, readily and willingly put aside for the special day. One day in the middle of rushed and hurried lives when we are disconnected through the wires and connected in person. We hug, carry kids on hips, tickle little toes, elbow a brother. We are present. We give full attention and focus to the people around us.
We always begin the afternoon meal with grace, a prayer of gratitude. We remember our troops, their families and their sacrifices, while we sit safely and free by a warm fire. We remember the loved ones no longer with us, we appreciate each other and our time relaxing together. We give thanks.
I carry that giving thanks into my day-to-day life. I am grateful for where I am, who I am and whose I am. I aim to live gratefully every day, it’s a work in progress, it’s a conscious choice and a deliberate effort. Gratitude is a gift of peace and happiness to myself, and by extrapolation, to my family and those around me.
If I can be grateful for where I am in this exact moment, at this place in my life, if I can be thankful for the love around me right now, well, then I believe I’ve found the secret to life.