Gratitude Changes Everything

When I think of fall on its own – everything about it is wonderful.

I love the fall. The leaves start to change (unless all the trees are palm tress, haha), the temperature starts to drop, and I can feel the change in the air. It’s the season for football, sweatshirts, leggings (well that’s every season if you’re me), potlucks, and pumpkin-flavored everything. Cool crisp air, beautiful colors, bonfires with s’mores and hot drinks. It is, by far, my favorite time of year. It is also called the “start of the holiday season”.

Tensions start to run high when the temperatures drop low, because so many things happen with the holidays. Vacations and family visits and kids out of school, teammates taking time off at work, cooking, cleaning, driving a million places. Shopping. It can all feel a bit overwhelming. When everything seems so daunting, it might be difficult to think of anything to be thankful for. I aim to write a gratitude list a few times a week – it reminds me that I have a lot in my life that is wonderful. They don’t have to be big things. Just small things can help change a perspective.

So, here’s a list of a few small things that might help you be grateful:

Sense of sight – for letting you see the colors of life.
Sense of hearing – for letting you hear trickle of rain, the voices of your loved ones, and the harmonious chords of music.
Sense of touch – for letting you feel the texture of your clothes, the breeze of the wind, the hands of your loved ones.
Sense of smell – for letting you smell scented candles, perfumes, and beautiful flowers in your garden.
Sense of taste – for letting you savor the sweetness of fruits, the saltiness of seawater, the sourness of pickles, the bitterness of bitter gourd, and the spiciness of chili.
Your speech – for giving you the outlet to express yourself.
Your heart – for pumping blood to all the parts of your body every second since you were born; for giving you the ability to feel.
Your lungs – for letting you breathe so you can live.
Your immune system – for fighting viruses that enter your body. For keeping you in the pink of your health so you can do the things you love.
Your hands – so you can type on your computer, flip the pages of books, and hold the hands of your loved ones.
Your legs – for letting you walk, run, swim, play the sports you love, and curl up in the comfort of your seat.
Your mind – for the ability to think, to store memories, and to create new things.
Your good health – for enabling you to do what you want to do and for what you’re about to do in the future.
Your teachers – for their dedication and for passing down knowledge to you.
Tears – for helping you express your deepest emotions.
Disappointment – so you know the things that matter to you most.
Fears – so you know your opportunities for growth.
Pain – for you to become a stronger person.
Sadness – for you to appreciate the spectrum of human emotions.
Happiness – for you to soak in the beauty of life.
The Sun – for bringing in light and beauty to this world.
Sunset – for a beautiful sight to end the day.
Moon and Stars – for brightening up our night sky.
Sunrise – for a beautiful sight to start the morning.
Rain – for cooling you when it gets too warm and for making it comfy to sleep in on weekends.
Rainbows – for a beautiful sight to look forward to after rain.
Oxygen – for making life possible.
The earth – for creating the environment for life to begin.
Mother nature – for covering our world in beauty.
Internet – for connecting you and others despite the physical space between you.
Transport – for making it easier to commute from one place to another.
Technology – for making impossible things possible.
Books – for adding wisdom into your life.
Blogs – for connecting you with other like-minded people.
Shoes – for protecting your feet when you are out.
Time – for a system to organize yourself and keep track of activities.
Music – for lifting your spirits when you’re down and for filling your life with more love.
Your bed – for you to sleep comfortably in every night.
Your home – for a place you can call home.
Your friends – for being there for you whenever you need them.
Your enemies – for helping you uncover your blind spots so you can become a better person.
Kind strangers – for brightening up your days when you least expect it.
Your mistakes – for helping you to improve and become better.
Heartbreaks – for helping you mature and become a better person.
Awareness -that you are not responsible for the bad behavior of others, even if they are related to you by blood
Laughter – for serenading your life with joy.
Love – for letting you feel what it means to truly be alive.
Life’s challenges – for helping you grow and become who you are.
Life – for giving you the chance to experience all that you’re experiencing, and will be experiencing in time to come.

And last but not least…

You -For being who you are and touching the world with your presence.

The holidays don’t have to be a time of trudging, or resentment, or tension and stress. Don’t get me wrong, there will still be all of those things. However, those little moments of gratitude help take the edge off in those times when screaming at the cashier to go a little faster or cutting off the guy who cut me off first seems like the right choice. A deep breath, a look around and a reminder of gratitude might be enough to change our perception.

Each time you find yourself overwhelmed by stress, gently guide your focus back to one (or all) of the things for which you feel grateful. If it helps, write down your list on paper and display them prominently as a visual reminder of how you want to feel this holiday season. The more you practice this simple habit, the more you will start to notice a shift in your thinking, from fearful anxiety to the calm of the present moment. Wishing you a holiday season filled with gratitude, no matter what.

“Gratitude is the sweetest thing in a seekers life – in all human life. If there is gratitude in your heart, then there will be tremendous sweetness in your eyes.” Sri Chinmoy

 

Jai Bhagwan,

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