As I enter into the week of Thanksgiving planning activities and menus, I spent time this morning reflecting on gratitude and being thankful. Despite a daily practice of acknowledging gratitude for years, I have moved away from the formal practice of writing them down to a more subtle and internal awareness. This morning I attempted to remember that being thankful is more than for just one day or even for the month of November.
In January, I was grateful for the time with my best friend in the mystical location of Sedona. It was here on this trip that I was reminded of the value of friendship. I set my intentions for 2012 into the red earth of the Sedona land and opened my heart to see what unfolded.
In February, I was grateful for the cold temperatures and bare branches of the trees as I hiked. I love hiking in all the seasons, but there is something so quieting for the soul as one walks about in a cold winter morning where the terrain is barren and stark and the sounds of nature are minimal.
In March the wind was my gratitude. The way that the wind can swirl and gust around reminds me of impermanence. In an instant, a gust of wind can change directions, similar to a thought or a feeling. To be able to see the flow of life through the howling of the wind is remarkable. One of my most favorite things is to stand atop the cliff with my arms widened and allow the wind to take with it what is no longer needed in my body.
April brought buds of green life reminding me of the opportunity to change and to grow. In this month, I was grateful for a work team that encouraged me to seek out the possibility of a new direction. With this kind of support I was able to look within myself to see that I have the ability to weigh options and make decisions with integrity.
In May, I was thankful for my body. It was in this month that I spent countless hours experiencing pain from an injury that in an instant took my life-train off the track that it was on. Through this unbelievable pain I opened myself up to see that the wisdom of the Universe and that if I am willing to listen, I can see exactly what is needed at that moment.
June brought to me the opportunity to love and to be loved. It was during this month that I developed a deeper value for communication and partnership. I realized the attachments I had which no longer served me and I was willing to see someone else’s perspective. I deepened my commitment to myself and to the man who adores me.
In July, the devastation in my city as a fire that swept through my community brought forth in me the gratitude of my home. All of the meaningful items within my home that harbor memories were seen in a different way. To imagine all of my ‘things’ burned to ash opened up my eyes to be deeply grateful for the safety of my home and my family.
It was in August while walking along a bridge in a vacation spot with my family that my girl reached out and grabbed my hand. It was in that instant of a connection that rarely happens with her that I was incredibly thankful to be her mom.
In September the colors that surrounded me was where I placed my gratitude. The glorious reds, oranges, and yellows were all like sunshine to my eyes. I was grateful each time I entered into the space where the gift of the fall colors taught me to be aware–not rushing through the day from one task to the next, but instead aware.
In October I found my thanks in endurance. Physical, mental, and emotional endurance. It was a long month with many opportunities to dig deep for the strength to know my own truth, to allow myself to be vulnerable, and to be reminded to be open to any outcome. I was grateful to demonstrate endurance and to get done what needed to get done.
In November I have been grateful for my family. My girl is the example of simplicity and pure goodness. It is because of her that I am who I am. My oldest son teaches me what it means to overcome adversity. He is an example of courage. My youngest son shows me what it mean to live your life without shadows or boundaries. He demonstrates acceptance of self and others every single day. My beloved is the source of unconditional love. He shows me what commitment and partnership mean by encouraging my own spirit to shine bright. Accepting me and my children into his life–all the while being willing to say yes to the present, as well as the future, has been his gift. It is with gratitude for each member that I know we each bring our own value and meaning to our family.
December is yet to come and I look forward to where I can find thanks. I know that whatever shows up it will be perfect.