Monthly Archives: November 2012

30 Days of Gratitude – Day Sixteen – A Good Book

 

Today I am thankful for a good book.

I love to read a good book.  Or listen to a good book. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

I mostly read fiction these days.  I have read a whole lot of non-fiction in the past but these days I can’t resist a good piece of fiction.

I guess this also means that I am thankful for writers … which I am.  I am thankful for their talent and their willingness to do the work that it takes to write.

Do you like to read? If so, what have you read lately that you would recommend?

30 Days of Gratitude – Day Fifteen – Electricity

Today I am thankful for electricity.

It’s something we don’t think about a lot until we don’t have it.

Due to Hurricane Sandy a lot of people in the East have been without power recently and it is a reminder how difficult it is to be without electricity.

Reading at night, regulating the temperature in your home, keeping foods refrigerated, enjoying a tv show, having an alarm wake you up, washing and drying clothes … we depend on electricity for so many things – it makes so much of life easier and more entertaining.

Today I am thankful for electricity!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day Fourteen – My Parents

Today I am thankful for my parents!

Both of my parents are deceased.  My mother died in 1993 and my father died in 2001.  I still miss them a lot and I think of them often.

I was fortunate to have two very wonderful parents!  They weren’t perfect but they loved me well and I benefited greatly from their love.

They both left this world too soon imo.  I would have loved to have spent many more days with them.

Thanks Mom and Dad! … for loving me unconditionally, for believing the best about me, for always being there for me, for teaching me how to persevere, for demonstrating to me how to be a good neighbor and friend, for being such good role models on how to be a healthy and loving family, and for showing me how to enjoy life.

Practicing Gratitude.

This post is part of a synchroblog on gratitude as a spiritual practice. The other contributions are listed at the end of this post.

Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind. – Lionel Hampton

I think of gratitude as essential to my spiritual health as prayer and meditation.

I love the idea of gratitude and I believe that being grateful and remembering what we are grateful for can have a positive impact on ourselves, on others and on the world we live in.

And practicing gratitude sounds so simple … make a list of the things you are grateful for, take a walk for ten minutes and think about what you are grateful for, blog about being grateful everyday in the month of November, always start your prayer with thanksgiving.

But, over the years I’ve come to realize that practicing gratitude isn’t as simple or easy as it sounds.  So, I thought I would share what I have learned over the years about practicing gratitude.

Once you begin to attempt the spiritual practice of gratitude it quickly becomes obvious that there are times when you are going through the motions of practicing gratitude but everything that is the very essence of gratitude seems to have slipped out the back door of your soul.  You are mouthing the words, you are thinking the thoughts, but you don’t feel thankful right now – life is beating you up, things aren’t going your way, you are hurting, afraid, lonely, worried.  You may be saying “I’m thankful for this and that” but you don’t feel thankful and you don’t really feel like taking the time to remember something you’re thankful for. You begin to wonder if practicing gratitude is the answer to what ails you – is it really helpful?, does it work?, is it worth the time and effort?

One thing I have learned over the years and have to remember when practicing gratitude is that it is NOT the answer to pain.  In fact, if there is an answer to pain I haven’t found it. BUT, I do believe that practicing gratitude may be what opens something up inside of me so that I am able to receive the light and comfort that my soul seeks and needs in order to heal. I do believe that practicing gratitude, even when the feelings aren’t there, creates a path that I can follow back to peace and harmony.

Another thing I have learned over the years is that practicing gratitude does not mean that I will never have a sad or negative thought or that I have to replace every sad or negative thought with a positive one.  Some days, when our grief is still too raw, aren’t good days for the spiritual practice of gratitude. I don’t ever want to fall into the trap of thinking that practicing gratitude means that it is wrong or bad to allow ourselves to experience pain or suffering. I don’t want to pretend, or encourage anyone to pretend, that loss or sickness or injury or catastrophe or any other bad thing that we experience does not exist or impact us.  What HAS turned out to be true for me is that the practice of gratitude is an essential element when I am ready to start the healing process.

And most recently I have learned that practicing gratitude and positive thinking are different   Positive thinking is an approach to life but practicing gratitude is a response to life. Good thoughts are probably necessary for our success but gratitude is our sincere appreciation for the gifts of life that we have experienced. I’ve heard that gratitude is not only a virtue but that it is the mother to all the other virtues. I don’t know if that is true but I do think that gratitude often leads to positive thoughts and positive actions.

What are some insights that you have to share about practicing gratitude?

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Check out the other contributions to this month’s synchroblog:

30 Days of Gratitude – Day Thirteen – Parties

Today I am thankful for parties.

I love parties.  Birthday parties, Christmas parties, Graduation parties, watching the election parties, neighborhood block parties, engagement parties, Halloween parties – all kinds of parties.

Parties make me smile.

I like to throw parties and attend parties.  I like getting to meet new people, joining in on interesting conversations, sharing in the festivities.

Today I am thankful for parties.

30 Days of Gratitude – Day Twelve – Movies

Today I am thankful for movies.

Anyone who knows me well knows I love movies.  I especially love seeing movies at the theater and the bigger the screen the better.

Comedies, dramas, musicals, love stories, action – I love all kinds of movies.  Of course I don’t love ALL movies because some movies just aren’t very good but I do like a lot of movies and I am always on the lookout for those movies that are above and beyond other movies.

Some of my favorite movies include Legend of the Fall, You’ve Got Mail, The Wizard of Oz, In Her Shoes, Titanic, The Godfather, The Family Stone, Love Actually, The Holiday, Gone With The Wind, Little Miss Sunshine, The Departed, Silence of the Lambs, Bourne Identity, Star Wars … there are so many more but I have to stop for now.  What are some of your favorite movies?

30 Days of Gratitude – Day Eleven – Ice Cream

Today I am thankful for ice cream.

I don’t have a substantial sweet tooth but I do love ice cream.

The cool, creamy, sweet taste of ice cream is absolutely delightful in my opinion.

And not only does ice cream taste delightful but it has a delightful essence in that it reminds me of birthday parties and 4th of July celebrations and “congratulations, you played a great game” outings.

When I was in high school I worked at the local drugstore diner.  We served a lot of burgers, hot dogs, chili and grilled cheese sandwiches but ice cream was our number one seller.  Cups of ice cream, banana splits, milk shakes, coke floats, triple dip cones … all kinds of ice cream was sold at that little drugstore diner seven days a week.  I remember us joking about it being the best medicine that we sold.

Come to think of it, I’m not sure that is a joke.

P.S.  Some of my favorite ice cream flavors and concoctions over the years include: Black Walnut Ice Cream, Neopolitan, Chocolate Chip, Brahm’s Strawberry Milk Shakes, Sonic Chocolate Dipped Ice Cream Cones, Drumsticks and right now I’m  hooked on Schwan’s Mini Ice Cream Bars (the milk chocolate ones that are pictured above).

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor or concoction?