As a creature of habit (as most humans are), I find the opportunity to try something new both exhilarating and daunting - precisely because it's a chance to go "off schedule."
This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a yoga class - a class I'd never been to before and that was completely off schedule. And, like most spontaneous occasions, it was a total blessing in disguise. Here's why.
At the end of the class - my arms and legs sore and achy, but my heart feeling full - the teacher closed with this quote:
I am thankful for who I am. I am thankful for what I have. My Thanksgiving is perpetual.
Sometimes quotes take a few minutes to sink in with true meaning, but this one grounded me right away. My thanksgiving is perpetual. What a lovely thought to carry me through the weekend.
Since this yoga class, though, this idea has kept coming back to me. The thought that my thankfulness, my sense of appreciation could be felt not just on Thanksgiving Day, but everyday, that my thankfulness could be perpetual… Something about it just speaks to me and where I am in my life right now.
After some reflection, I've decided this idea of having a full cup of thankfulness, one that's filled to the brim, overflowing each and every day and every moment, resonates for two important reasons. One of them is obvious and easy; the other one takes work.
First the obvious part - in order to feel thankful, we must be aware of the things in our lives to be thankful for. This point is all about perspective. And boy, I do have so much, and more importantly, so many people to be thankful for. To be able to look at my son - in quiet moments, in funny ones, in sad ones and everything in between - and know in my heart that he feels loved unconditionally. To have a life partner who accepted me for who I was when he married me, and whose love now seems to expand like an elastic rubber band to continue accepting me no matter how I grow and change. To have family and friends who truly listen, who show up and give as much as they can of themselves to support me and my family.
My thanksgiving is perpetual.
But the second reason this quote resonates is a bit more complex, more layered with purpose and intention. This is about choosing to live a life – really to build a life – that is so authentic to you and your values that it becomes easier and easier for you to continue to fill up your gratitude cup and see it overflow, every day, for the rest of your life. If I want my thanksgiving to be perpetual, I must make choices and tweaks and edits that help me align my outer life with my inner life. This, I think, is where the rubber really meets the road, as they say. And it is, I think, where you'll find the difference between feeling thankful on Thanksgiving, and truly feeling like you are laying the groundwork to feel and experience thankfulness day by day, moment to moment.
My thanksgiving is perpetual.
Now sure, we can't possibly feel thankful all the time. There is always frustration, challenge, and pain and sometimes the best we can do is hold on tight and work through whatever's right in front of us. But when we’re done, after the water has ceased to be choppy, I believe we are also capable of experiencing gratitude and appreciation for what those challenges taught us, the way they changed us – and that we made it through to the other side.
With so much heartache and so many inexplicable things happening around the world, I struggle sometimes to make sense of what's happening outside of my own little life, my own little family. I may not be able to ever understand or control what happens to others, but I can control how I feel about my life, the interactions I have with others, and the choices big and small that I make and that make up my life.
If ever I was looking for a mantra, a touch stone that I would like to hold on to, it's certainly this:
I am thankful for who I am. I am thankful for what I have. My thanksgiving is truly perpetual.
PS: Wonder what others are saying about gratitude this time of year? Here are a couple of new favorites that have inspired my thinking this week: