"When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude."
– G.K. Chesterton
– G.K. Chesterton
Giving Thanks: Small Wonders to Be Thankful For
1. Cuddly warm socks or your favorite old shirt to kick around the house in.
2. The unconditional love or adoration of a pet.
3. Modern appliances that make our lives easier.
4. A beautiful sunset.
5. The smell of baking cookies or bread.
6. Freshly washed sheets on the bed.
7. Being able to make a gratitude list and having the freedom to put anything you want on it.
8. Taking a walk, breathing in fresh air and the fact that you can do both these.
9. Your favorite book, music or TV show on a rainy day.
10. Getting a letter or card in the mail from a friend.
Giving Thanks: Expressing Gratitude
1. Pay special attention to the food you are eating at a meal and use all your senses to enjoy it and be thankful for it.
2. For every text you get today on your phone send out a silent blessing of gratitude that you have this technology that allows you to stay connected to others you care about so easily.
3. Show your gratitude for the beauty you find in nature by creating a table centerpiece or some artwork using items you find outside – pebbles, flower buds, leaves, twigs, etc...
4. Send a card to a service worker to thank them for the job they do. Could be your local firefighters, police, sanitation worker, or military personnel.
5. I love what my friend whose son died at age 12 does every year to express gratitude for the time she had him in her life. Every year on his birthday and Christmas she goes to the toy store, picks out what she would have bought for him and sticks the amount of cash it costs under the box. In her mind she can just see some other little boy or girl wanting that toy that maybe mom or dad can't afford and finding the money right there to pay for it and make that small dream come true for them.
6. Take a few minutes each day this week to just sit in silence and reflect on the people and circumstances in your life that you have to be thankful for. Send this energy out to the Universe.
7. Take the time to write a note to an employer about an employee at a restaurant or store who was especially attentive or helpful to you.
8. As you are walking around a store, the mall, or park or wherever you walk, really look at the people you pass, smile at them, and think of one nice thing you notice about them. You don't have to say it out loud, just think it in your head. Nice hair, love your shoes, what a graceful way of walking she has, how natural that guy is with his child, etc...
9. Write up a gratitude list with all you have to be thankful for – big and small. You might even pass it around the table at Thanksgiving dinner and let your loved ones add their own gratitudes to it.
10. Here's a harder one. Write a thank you note to someone who has caused you frustration or even anger. Look for the lesson behind why this person entered your life and what there could be to learn from the situation. You don't actually have to send the letter if that makes you uncomfortable. The point is to find the good in difficult situations and the lessons adversity can bring us.
Giving Thanks: Spreading Positivity
1. Silently bless a stranger as you walk by them. You might also do a Pay It Forward action for them. It could be something as simple as opening a door for them, holding the elevator, or putting some coins in a parking meter that has just expired.
2. Help undernourished children, adults and animals around the world by donating this 30 pack of nutrient packed, easy to prepare cereal or healthy snack bars.
3. Invite someone that you think might be alone at Thanksgiving to share your Thanksgiving meal. Think about if an elderly neighbor has lost a spouse and has grown children that live far away, or a co-worker who doesn't have family near.
4. Do some volunteer work in something that interests you or that you are grateful for. If you love reading, volunteer at the library, if you are thankful for the doctors and nurses that took care of you or a loved one volunteer at the hospital. If you just don't have time for regular volunteer work, volunteer for single events like a pet adoption day, a soup kitchen, or a kid's event. If you don't even have time for that, make some Christmas toy bags or toiletry bags to give to charity or just pluck a card off one of your local Toy Drive trees and fulfill a child's Christmas dreams.
5. Write your own prayer or blessing of thanks to share at dinner on Thanksgiving. You can get really creative and do it in verse or rhyme or have a chorus that everyone can join in on like a chant.
6. Make decorations to brighten up your home for whatever you celebrate – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, the Fall season, Winter Solstice, ... Be creative and place your intention on positive thoughts and the joy you experience making and displaying your creations.
7. Visit a nursing home to share a special talent you have with the elders. If you are musical play and sing for them, if not, offer to lead some games or storytelling. Check with the recreation director and discuss what talents you have to offer to brighten an elder's day.
8. Make a goal of complimenting 5 people today. It could be people you know or might be strangers you encounter. Just pick 5 people throughout the day to say something nice about them to them.
9. Burn a copy of a song to a cd that you find great pleasure in or that moves you and send it to a friend.
10. Do a small act of kindness for a neighbor. For example, my mother walks her dog up and down her street each morning. She picks up each neighbor's newspaper off the sidewalk and places it on their porch. She has done this every day for years and many people probably think the paper is put there by the delivery person, but I know the truth and it makes my mom feel good to do this small act and makes her feel she is doing something nice to show appreciation for her neighborhood and her neighbors.
I hope you have a peaceful and blessed Thanksgiving Day. I hope that no matter what your life circumstances are, you find many things to be thankful for, find ways to express them and put that positive energy out into the world. Remember the more positive you put out the more positive that will return to you.
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