Being Thankful is a state of mind. The feeling of gratitude is something I strive to think of and live out daily. There are certainly days that I feel other things much more than I feel thankful or grateful, but it takes diligence and resilience to continually feel thankful. It's a work in progress. I have come to see that being thankful has nothing to do with what one has or has not.
When I was younger, I was not aware or conscious of feeling thankful for things or people or feelings or places. As I have aged with time and experiences, I have grown more acutely aware of privilege and grace and mercy and kindness and luck showered upon me. And I have become more thankful for the things that make my life easier, happier, safer, etc. I have become more grateful to all the people (and animals) who are here to stay, those who are here for a chapter or two and those who merely cross paths with me. I have become more appreciative of natural beauty: the sky completely slays me every day, all day with its ever changing hues and patterns and movement; beaches, mountains, rivers, forests, waterfalls, the sun bathing the downtown skyline in gold, a fresh snowfall, the unbelievable colors of fall, the new green of spring and full out verdant beauty of summer leave me completely humbled.
When I was younger, I was bashful and shy and self-conscious, and I worried about what people would think if I danced or cried or sang out loudly. As the years tumble by, I care less and less what others think about anything I do. And for that I am truly thankful. It is liberating to be at peace with oneself.
On Thanksgiving, it is easy to get caught up thinking about the turkey and all the trimmings and the table settings and what time the guests are arriving; with shopping and making Christmas lists and when the tree is going up; with cleanup and putting away the extra table and chairs and taking down the fall decorations, but what I will be trying to settle my thoughts on is how absolutely, truly, completely thankful I am that I was born in a free country, to free, privileged, educated, good, fair, loving, caring parents and have been handed a multitude of opportunities and blessings and privileges and been loved and taken care of by so many people throughout my life.
Life is never free from all pain, trouble, cloudy skies, detours or dead ends, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything to be grateful for. It could always be worse. And that alone is reason to be thankful. Look for the good, the bright, the warm, the cozy, the kind, the beautiful, the half full or at the very least not completely empty.
May each and every one of you have much on your list to be thankful for on Thanksgiving and each day of the year. Peace and safe passages to you and yours!