Happy Thanksgiving Week!! However the holiday looks in your world this year, whatever plans you are able to make and keep, may joyful gratitude be the heart and soul of it all. If this comes trudgingly at times due to, well, everything, here are some of my favorite thought exercises that you might find useful.
#1 Senses Inventory: Take a moment to actively notice the world as your five physical senses perceive it, then add your thoughts and emotions in that moment. What do I see, hear, touch, smell, taste, think, and feel? Cataloging these seven specific access points to your human experience can feel so wonderful; it curbs that tendency to grow numb. I love this as a grounding exercise, and it often launches me straight into overwhelming gratitude.
#2 Prayers Already Answered: Take note of prayers already answered throughout your life or your loved ones’, both recently and over time. Name them until you feel the physical relief of “what might have been” or of the heavy burdens you no longer carry. Re-experience the joy of good news, and reflect on the love poured out into your life. Your life is soaked in miracles. Sometimes I do this slowly at first, until the remembrance comes on like a tidal wave. It can be overwhelming, and I giggle-cry with thanks.
#3 Thankful that Things Aren’t Worse: This is a powerful train of thought, but in a dark moment it can slip into sarcasm, which dulls gratitude, so I try to maintain that boundary, ha! No matter how difficult the days are, it can always be much, much worse. This kind of gratitude helps me put my problems in perspective.
#4 Give Thanks in Advance: As simple as it sounds, but a small exercise in fantasy, this is a powerful act of trust. I love to tell God thank you ahead of the concrete answers. It helps me see the future in its best possible expression. It helps me land on words to describe what I really want. And it helps me affirm my trust in His goodness, instead of giving voice to my fears.
#5 Gratitude for the Strong Pillars: If you have a job, a warm home, clothes and shoes, food and clean water, and a few people near you, your life is strong and good. It is so easy to forget that these are not automatically provided to everyone, and the veil between this life and another is shockingly thin. Hwo wonderful to be in such a strong, safe place.
#6 Name Actual People! Oh this is so fun and easy, and it is a luscious way to feel temporarily connected! Just let your mind wander and literally say the names of people in your life. Sometimes my mind will fish out the name of someone who surprises me, maybe they are a part of a difficult relationship, but you know what? I can be thankful for those too, as those are often where we learn valuable lessons. But mostly I enjoy the bright cloud of faces around me, people who make my world stronger, more beautiful, infinitely more magical.
#7 Gratitude Over News Headlines: Another exercise in trust, this is about the only way I can constructively absorb the news some days. Just read or watch and try to filter it all through a lens of thankfulness. Sometimes the best I can do is tell God I know you know all about this, thank you for watching over us in all things I don’t understand, and that can be enough. But then, also, a lens of thankfulness can help me see good news more often. It sort of tunes the mind into noticing goodness more easily.
#8 Thankful for Challenges and Difficulties: This particular thankfulness robs hardship of some of its sting. It’s the alchemy, the absolute conversion of what was meant for our harm. I love to reframe hard times as opportunities to grow and improve.
Do any of these seem useful to you? Do you have any other specific thought methods to share, to amp up our gratitude?
Happy Thanksgiving week!! However you are celebrating this year, I wish you deep peace and outrageous joy. Take it easy and laugh a lot. Pour yourelf out, fully. We are all going to make some unique memories this week, so let’s make them loving in every way.
Thank you so much for checking in.
“The quality of your life depends upon
the quality of your thoughts.”