"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Raving About Giving Thanks

Today I am grateful for all of Sam's current teachers and for good parent-teacher conferences last evening.

Yesterday I ranted. Today I rave. Rave about the immeasurable difference regular gratitude practice has made in my life for over two decades.

It wasn't necessarily a quick sell, but I am a firm believer now.  A brooding and ruminating pessimist as a child, adolescent, and young adult, I was one of those scoffers I mentioned yesterday. Picking up alcohol at a young age didn't help my perceptions of self and surrounding world.

Slowly and surely, keeping a gratitude journal helped me shift my default thinking mode from a negative, energy-zapping stream to a more positive and productive stream. Our brains learn to see more of what we teach it to look for. Reteaching is possible. Default modes can change. My brain and I could be Exhibit A in that discussion. I now have many actions, including this blog, which help me stay on track and provide regular dividends of the best kind.

I don't buy it when I hear "people can't change, this is part of our nature, we were born with it and are stuck with it."  Those become excuses as far as I am concerned. My own experiences and those of many others, especially people working to recover from addictions, prove that people and their way of thinking can indeed change, for the better.

Do I walk around with a smile on my face all the time, with my hands raised to the heavens saying "Thank you God"?  No, I do not. I do smile more than I used to. I do remember to thank the Great Spirit/Higher Power who is the chief benefactor providing so many of the gifts in my life.

I experience the full range of human emotions and I do not live in denial of life's challenges, which are many. Without a doubt, the disciplined gratitude practice I adhere to has helped me better handle both ends of the emotional spectrum as well as the complacency of many typical days.

Other reasons to rave about gratitude practice?  It contributes to my overall wellness. It provides physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits. It helps keep my priorities fresh in mind. It generates energy for me to make a difference and contribute to the positive stream of life.

If I find myself lacking gratitude, I let this thought pass through my consciousness:  My life experiences include two diseases that kill people every day. Alcoholism. Cancer. Kill. People. Every. Day.

I am here, alive, healthy, able-bodied, doing my best to contribute and not contaminate. Ample reasons right there to rave about giving thanks. 

2 comments:

  1. I'm grateful for this blog, for the extra time you take to write and share it... it helps me center myself each day.

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    1. It means so much to me to have faithful readers like you. The focus on gratitude and the time and effort to put words together for a post are not work to me, but an avocation. Thanks Steve!

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