Today is Thanksgiving, and we’re supposed to feel grateful on this day, which always kind of bugs me. With 365 days in the year, why point out one day during which we’re supposed to give thanks?
Don’t get me wrong. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Feasting, family, gratitude, pie crust with those cinnamon sprinkles? Bring it. And sure, going around the Thanksgiving table to listen to everyone express out loud what they’re grateful for warms my heart.But it doesn’t feel like enough.
I make a conscious effort in my life to express gratitude every, single day. My life is filled with blessings. I have the world’s greatest family. Really. Not just my hubby and my daughter, but my awesome Mom, my beloved baby sister, my rock solid bro, my fab cousin, my favorite aunt. How lucky am I? I just completed a 20 city book tour after getting two books published this year. And I have the sweetest patients in the world at the Owning Pink Center. And I live in paradise, surrounded by mountains, the Pacific Ocean, and redwoods. I have this wonderful web community to lift me up, inspire me, challenge me, and give me the opportunity to be ALL ME, ALL THE TIME.
The Universe bestows blessings on me like a shower of rose petals. And as Mama Gena says, “Unacknowledged blessings turn to shit.”
So I make a conscious effort to be grateful -- not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.Don’t get me wrong.
I’m far from perfect. Life is far from perfect. Some days I get mired in the muck. I wind up discouraged. I bitch and moan about what’s going wrong. I lash out. I complain. I grump my way through the day with a scowl on my face and words that slice through any gratitude I might mean to express.
But at the bare minimum, I try to allow the first thoughts that come into my head when I’m waking up to be thoughts of gratitude. When I lay my head on the pillow at night, I pray and say thanks for the blessings in my life. Icky stuff might come up in between, but at least I always try to come back to gratitude.
Go ahead. Vent when you need to. Don’t fake gratitude when you’re not feeling it. Get angry. Feel frustrated. Allow yourself to wallow in disappointment. I’m not suggesting we all turn into Pollyanna.
But don’t forget to acknowledge the good stuff, even if it’s small. Admittedly, my blessings are huge this year. My gratitude overfloweth. But it wasn’t always this way. In the midst of my Perfect Storm -- when my father was dying, my dog passed away, and I was watching my brother fight for his life in the ICU -- I found it hard to feel grateful. But I could still muster up small gratitudes. I’m thankful for the sunset. I’m thankful that I had such a great father that I will miss him like crazy when he’s gone. I’m thankful for Dungeness crab in season, with all its succulent yumminess.
What about you? Do you make gratitude a daily practice? Or do you save giving thanks for Thanksgiving? What are you grateful for? How has the Universe blessed you?
Dr. Lissa Rankin is an OB/GYN physician, an author, a nationally-represented professional artist, and the founder of Owning Pink, an online community committed to building authentic community and empowering women to get- and keep- their "mojo". Owning Pink is all about owning all the facets of what makes you whole- your health, your sexuality, your spirituality, your creativity, your career, your relationships, the planet, and YOU. Dr. Rankin is currently redefining women’s health at the Owning Pink Center, her practice in Mill Valley, California. She is the author of the forthcoming What's Up Down There? Questions You'd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend (St. Martin's Press, September 2010).
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