With the new chill in the air, the calendar must have turned to that very brown month between the brilliant colors of October and the warmly welcomed blanket of white in December. Knowing that this drab month will pass by as quickly as all of the rest makes it pretty easy to get through, no matter how grey it may be.
If you have ever read anything I have written in previous years, you will already know that November is one of my favorite months because it contains my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. It’s difficult NOT to love a holiday that has little material gain associated from celebrating with family and friends. Thanksgiving may occur just one day out of the year, but there can be no doubt that having a thankful heart everyday no matter your circumstances is the key to living a joyful, satisfying life.
On Facebook in the month of November, some people will report a daily status of what they are thankful for. I think this is a great idea, especially because you may have to think a bit harder by the time the Thanksgiving holiday comes around for what or whom to be thankful for. Our friends and family, our jobs, our neighbors, a warm home, having clothes and food, yes these are the easy things that come to mind. But what about our policemen and women who put their lives on the line to protect us, our home and possessions? Or firemen who risk their lives running into a burning building while the rest of us are running out? Or emergency medical technicians who act immediately to assist an individual in need, sometimes before a scene is cleared as safe to do so?
There are literally thousands of things to be thankful for. But are we? Are we thankful for the rain so our garden and crops can grow? Are we thankful for a nice, thick blanket of snow to protect our plants from freezing out into next year? Are we thankful for the person in the car just ahead who cut us off and made us spin out into the ditch? For the deer that crossed our path and dented our hood? Are we thankful for losing a job, when we have no other back-up job in mind? Whew! These are definitely situations where it is very difficult to maintain a gracious attitude.
But what if we did? What would that look like? Thank you for the rain and snow, so my perennials do not need to be re-planted. Thank you for that guy who just cut me off, as I learned to be more aware of others on the road in the future. Thank you for that deer that taught me to expect the unexpected and to be thankful that the motorcycle behind me didn’t hit it because then someone likely would have been hurt. Thank you for me losing a job where I was comfortable, no longer challenged, but afraid to move on, even though I knew it was time to find a new, more stimulating position where I could learn and grow.
Every day this month, think of what you would normally complain about, and find a way to approach this with a thankful heart. Imagine the joy we all would have if we turned our challenges in life into victories for which to be thankful just by changing our thinking.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” — Melody Beattie
MotionWorks Physical Therapy