Choose grateful

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. I am profoundly grateful this year. For the first time in about a decade, my life is truly opening up and blossoming in ways I never before imagined were possible. We all have ebbs and flows of sadness and happiness in this life, of productivity and stillness, of growth and of rest. Weathering the storms and staying centered remains a constant challenge. But once the storms and stillnesses pass by, you emerge stronger

Studies have shown that gratitude is beneficial for your health. In my personal experience, I’ve found that it’s just a simpler, less stressful way to live. If you can be grateful about something, you are always rich. You can always feel blessed. You can bask in a sense of abundance.

Yes, there are many who have more than us in terms of material things, friends, and advantages. And there are also many who have far less. My Babci (Polish for grandma) used to say if we all threw our troubles into a pile, we would all be scrambling to take back our own problems.

There’s a difference between feeling lucky and feeling grateful. Feeling grateful is a celebration, while feeling lucky simply puts you into the robotic realm of statistics.

gratitude

Here’s a list of 25  things I am grateful for, in no particular order. It was quite a stream of consciousness exercise and I did not overthink it. Some of the responses surprised me – some are big things while others may seem inconsequential.

I encourage you to sit down at the computer or with a pen and paper and make a gratitude list of your own  – maybe with your family and friends, over a slice of pumpkin pie.

25 things I am grateful for

(In no particular order)
  1. My health – What sheer joy to be healthy and vibrant.
  2. My home – I am lucky to have a roof over my head, let alone a space that I truly love coming home to and working in.
  3. My failures – because they have taught me far more than my successes
  4. My day job – I am fortunate to be self employed and to work from my home. I love what I do and it sometimes does not even feel like work
  5. My family – Yes, I’m the odd, arty one. Still, they always support me and love me as I am. I know that they always have my back and love me no matter what.
  6. My lifelong vegetarianism / veganism – Somehow, even as I grew up in a hunting community, I decided to become a vegetarian at age 14. Living without animal products taught me about compassion, health and the environment – and that many cogent views exist beyond the status quo
  7. My friends, both old and new, near and far – we have all laughed and cried together. Over lots of wine, pasta and vegan chow- not all of it healthy. We are there for each other in good times and bad.
  8. My boyfriend – Such a tenacious, wise and gentle person. He treats everyone so kindly and with so much empathy. He makes me want to be a better person.
  9. My cats – They bring me joy and they make me laugh. This includes my other kitties who have left this world,  but still remain with me in my heart.
  10. Running – I have never regretted going for a run. It’s enhanced my life in so many ways. From it, I developed confidence, mental toughness and even empathy for myself. It’s my therapy, exercise, drug of choice and hobby, all rolled up into one.
  11. Abundance – I have everything I need and want: food, clothes, shelter, and even little luxuries like perfume and nail polish.
  12. Travel – I have been fortunate and adventurous enough to have visited more than 35 countries, including Syria, China, India and Morocco. Without a doubt, traveling is the world’s best teacher and it helps you understand peoples’ differences as well as similarities.
  13. Coffee – I like the taste. I like the jolt. Boom.
  14. Hot baths – The ultimate form if relaxation, with a glass of red wine, music via my Bluetooth speaker and a cheesy magazine.
  15. Blankets – Nothing better than snuggling up under a blanket, with cats, boyfriend or both, on chilly evening
  16. Cava – Sparkly dry Spanish “champagne” that compliments just about every food you serve with it. It’s embedded in my last name so how could I not love it?
  17. Paris – My unofficial second home and the place where I feel most comfortable.
  18. Music – How dull would life be without music? I love all kinds – Brazilian, especially Samba and Bossa Nova, Latin, World, singer songwriters, some pop and even some country.
  19. Art – Another one of life’s great teachers. Observing the visions of others is so life-affirming and pushes me out of my comfort zone.
  20. Nature – More than anything, I love to be outside. I read a statistic that most Americans will spend about 95% of their lives indoors and it made me so sad. Being outdoors and taking in the clean air and the colors of nature nourishes my soul.
  21. My Dyson vacuum – It really works and has totally changed my attitude about cleaning. Not many material things made this list so you know it works.
  22. My exes – Even though things did not go perfectly, I learned so much from every one of them  – about life, about empathy and compassion, and about myself.
  23. My teachers – What a calling. I appreciate all that my teachers and professors have shown me. Patience is not one of my strong points, so I am truly in awe of theirs.
  24. Lemons – I am a lemonholic and I don’t want a 12-step program.
  25. Avocados – Need I say more?

What are you grateful for?