It’s Thanksgiving Day in the USA. While the stories of this holiday’s origin may be varied and even controversial, they all have one thing in common: people celebrating their good fortune by setting aside time for a communal giving of thanks. And that’s what counts.
Sometimes we forget to be thankful. We take what we have for granted. It’s easier, or perhaps just habit, to focus on what we’re missing, what we’re wanting, or what terrible hand we’ve been dealt. It’s a habit worth breaking. I remember a parish priest who used to encourage us to strive for “an attitude of gratitude”. (Thanks, Fr. Ron!) I think he was on to something.
In the Radiant Recovery community, founded by Dr. Kathleen DesMaison, where members deal with recovery from sugar addiction and depression, “joy dots” are a suggested practice. These “joy dots” are written down first thing in the morning before recording anything else in one’s food journal. These “dots” aren’t things we think we should be thankful for, but rather things that send little (or big!) sparks of joy into our day. Things that engender real, heart-felt gratitude. And many people report that doing this, incorporating this habit into their daily lives, changes them. Who wouldn’t want that kind of change?
But, like I said, sometimes we forget. I know I do. I want this new habit, this “attitude of gratitude”. Yet, I forget to look for the little joys. That’s why I’m going to practice, starting today, for a whole year (Yikes!) so it becomes habit.
I’m calling it my Gratitude Spiral. I thought about calling it a “Gratitude Circle”, but if you travel in a circle you end up back where you started. I want to come around to gratitude over and over again, but be moved forward or outward, like a spiral. I’m aiming for a new place. A more grateful and appreciative place. And I’d love some company.
If you’re with me, follow this blog so you can keep up. Visit regularly and post your own reflections of gratitude — daily, weekly, monthly, or just every once in a while. I look forward to it. 🙂
Today: I’m grateful for this first day of a new habit.