It’s that one day of the year again, the thankful day. I used to sit round the table together with family and friends and express our thanks. My friends had a tradition to go around the table and each person would have a chance to exclaim what they were thankful for that year. It could be something that happened in their life or something they achieved or even just thankful for the immense dinner that was being served.
It’s nice to have a day in the year dedicated to gratefulness and being thankful. I understand that the tradition and the holiday itself has become somewhat controversial these days. However, remembering to be thankful is important. Hearing what my friends were thankful for over the year and even vocalizing that which I was thankful for was rewarding, cleansing, and humbling.
The holiday itself is not a holiday we officially celebrate here in the UK. Perhaps we should start this tradition here. I have tried to bring it into my circle of friends by at least sitting down for dinner together. Maybe one day it will catch on. But over the years I spent in the USA, it was often a highlight. Thanksgiving is a holiday that is immersed in American history and tradition and, therefore, really exclusively celebrated over there. And of course I would never snub the chance for the Good food in mass quantities and choice, family, friends, wine, and just some good old conversation.
I reminisce I used to go for an extended training session prior to the Thanksgiving dinner. I knew what I was about to eat, all the dishes and pies. I didn’t want it to go to waste. I wanted to utilize the fuel that I would consume. And consume, I did.
The thing is, I find that gratitude is an amazing emotion and expression of thankfulness and humility personally. To just take a step back from the day to day, my wants, my desires, and just think about that what I do have. Think about the small things. Think about the fact that I got to wake up another day and breathe another day of air. Work on my goals no matter how challenging or mundane. Have a chat with someone or learn something new. It truly re-energizes me.
It’s something I try do on a daily basis, albeit often failing. I sit for a few minutes contemplating this and focus on a couple of things to be thankful for when I wake up before I do anything else. It brings on a sort of calmness before the daily storm and allows me to re-balance my thoughts and priorities.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
William Arthur Ward
As I said, I often fail to achieve the thought and real emotion of gratitude, but I know how much I actually benefit from it. So I take care to try to do it. It’s this time of year that reminds me to focus on it. It reminds me to try harder and focus on the little things that I am grateful for.
I know that this year is going to be harder for people to celebrate together. It’s also been a tough year in many more ways than one for many people. The world has been affected and virtually changed. Things that were often not recognized or conventional have now almost become the norm. It will be tougher to be thankful and express gratitude than years before. However, it is when it is tough, that it’s even more powerful. It is a time when we need gratitude and its benefits more than usual. It brings with it positivity and a positive perspective.
Thankfully, it looks like there is light at the end of the tunnel as well. The world may return to a somewhat normal state where we can socialize once again without the health concerns of a looming virus. There is a vaccine on the horizon that would shield many from the virus. On a macro level, this is definitely something to be thankful for.
On a micro level, there are so many little things that we as individuals can be thankful for. I know for myself, while things have been difficult this year, I have had some good moments. Unexpected things have happened in my life, small but important. Little things that I could easily bypass as insignificant, when I am thankful for them and focus on them, I realize how key they really are in my life.
Expressed nicely by Robert Brault “enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize that they were the big things.” When you take a moment to focus on the little things and appreciate them in the present. Be thankful for them and see that even before you realize they are the big things, you have already built a foundation of gratitude to work from.
It’s cathartic. Why not give it a try?