Gratuity Included

My Thanksgiving assignment in the third grade was naming twelve things for which I was grateful, and why – one item starting with each letter in the word Thanksgiving. The list I came up with was mostly predictable with the exception of the second letter “I”. The first “I” was of course, a thank-you nod to ice cream. But for the second “I”, the only thing I could come up with was “Ichabod Crane; Because without him we would have no one to call headless”. My eight-year-old mind was still mystified by the Halloween tales of the headless horseman from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, told only a few weeks earlier. Today, however, the letter “I” would be a no-brainer: independence, along with individuality, imagination and certainly my iPhone. Oh, and my iPad. Um, and iAnything….

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Colorful leaves, sweater-weather, and a day rich with tradition. Cue the James Taylor music! It’s a holiday of humanity, and bonus – no religious agenda. Sure, we’ve romanticized raping Native American land by making it a day-long food orgy, but I’d like to think that for most of us there is at least a pause between bites of stuffing and pumpkin pie where we breathe a small ‘thank you’ for something.

The opportunity to contemplate and celebrate gratitude arrives with each Thanksgiving holiday. It is a turkey-toting yearly reminder to give thanks where it is due, but thinking about and expressing gratitude is something people should try to practice daily, or at least more frequently.

Mere days ago I returned from a week and a half in Europe. Sounds rough, I know. Hello! I was in Europe for a week and a half! What do I have to complain about? Well, I am human so it’s impossible not to stub one’s toes on the occasional bump in the road. Yet, if ever there was a cliché to adopt: “Don’t sweat the small stuff” would be one of them. In the shadow of the Eiffel Tower nibbling a croissant, I’d be an ass to spend even a second feeling sorry for myself. So I didn’t.

Bump #1: Our hotel room was freezing….see-your-breath-freezing. The bathroom floor was as icy as Wollman Rink. Flip-side: Waking each morning to my sweet silly fiancé, Steven making corny puns about the cold. The room temperature became a running joke.

Bump #2: A few days of the trip were sprinkled with thoughtless mean-girl minutia. Some definitely intentional, but anticipated. Some just plain thoughtlessness, and a big surprise. Either way, mean-spiritedness makes my skin crawl. Flip-side: The blissful joy of time alone, and a cool Paris breeze on my face as I rode my bike across the Seine on a journey to visit historical medical sites, which was more fun that I ever dreamed. Sveet!

Bump #3: Working a 12-hour shift less than 8 hours after my return home. How was I awake? Coffee. Lots of coffee. Flip-side: Satisfaction with being productive doing what I love. And a perfect excuse to break my two-cup-a-day coffee limit. I love coffee!

Remembering that your cup is half-full brings multiple health benefits. Studies show that gracious mindfulness boosts the immune system, lowers your heart rate and improves sleep.

On days when life is moving a million miles an hour it’s easy to forget to be present, aware and take note of the good stuff that surrounds us. Literally – taking notes on what you are thankful for on a regular basis can enhance happiness. Grab a pen and paper and kick it old-school with a journal, or download a convenient gratitude app to thank your lucky stars.

Happy Tapper

Easy to use Zen Buddha theme, similar to the Oprah Gratitude Journal, with inspirational quotes and a place to list five grateful items each day. Classic.

Gratuity Journal 365 Pro – Best Daily Diary for your Happiness

Super cute format. Record at least one grateful item each day and attach a pic. Later, when you scroll over the previous months, you can see for yourself how much good you have in your life. Love!

The world is a whacky place – good, bad or ugly, there is always something to be grateful for. Whether it’s a personal mantra, a gratitude app or talking to the dog – a little bit of reflection on the bountiful good in life is always a winning endeavor.

My list of thanks is endless. At base, I am certainly thankful to have a home, my health and people who love me. People who make me laugh, think and weep with joy.  A job that feeds my soul, and the desire to always strive to learn and grow – that’s just for starters.

THANK YOU to my wonderful funny family and my beautiful crazy friends. And a special thank you to one specific person who makes my day to day life peaceful and content with a touch of zany…

 

Steven – my brilliant fiancé and the funniest person I know

Thank you – life with you brings me such joy, even though you will not allow me to post identifiable photos of you on my blog….yet.

To recap: The big things are great, the little things are nice – the beauty of life is all that, and everything in between. It’s all-good, depending on how you look at it. So, pause a moment to take note and be thankful. No doubt life can be tough – there’s just no need to lose your head over it. If only Ichabod Crane knew that.

When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect toward others. ~ Dalai Lama

Happy Thanksgiving and Namaste.

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