I know that Thanksgiving is an American day of celebration, and I appreciate that gratitude is not something we only need to do on one day of the year, but I wonder if you agree with me that of all the celebration days, this one is a great reminder that we have much to be grateful for? I also believe that gratitude is one of the keys to happiness.
A Humbling Experience
This year, a decision that I made originally as an act of kindness, resulted in me being homeless for four and a half months. Fortunately I was not living on the streets because I had a number of amazing friends who welcomed me and my animals into their homes. Most of my belongings were locked away in a storage unit. I only had what would fit in my car, namely my clothes, everything I needed for my dogs and 2 bags of files and books for work. Interestingly the thing I was most concerned about not having was my collection of books!
As a highly sensitive person who loves people, but also needs time alone, it was really challenging not to have my own space during this time. Every night I would write in my gratitude journal how grateful I was for the friend that was putting a roof over my head that day. And I was also grateful for the challenging situation itself which was showing me how many friends I have and how much I am loved. It was a humbling experience.
My Order for a New Home
During those weeks I prayed to my Guardian Angels asking them to help me to find a new home. I wanted a small space to call my own and I wanted to feel safe. The situation in my last home had caused me to feel vulnerable and scared, so I prayed for a little house where my animals and I could feel safe. It had to have at least 2 bedrooms so I could use one for an office, it had to have a kitchen big enough for a table and an enclosed garden for my dogs. I also asked that this house was close to my friends and near somewhere beautiful to walk my dogs each day.
My Prayers are Answered
You may, or may not, be surprised to hear that my perfect new home found its way to me. It is owned by a friend and ticks all of the boxes on my list. This little house is the smallest I’ve ever lived in and yet I love it more than any other home I’ve had. As the paint went on the walls, as my furniture arrived it started to feel like home. My bed wouldn’t fit up the stairs and I had to sleep on a mattress on the floor for a couple of weeks but I so appreciated my new bed when it arrived. Every set of curtains I chose, every picture that went on the walls made me smile. And as each room took place I would stand back and admire the space I was creating.
After 12 weeks my new kitchen table arrived. Two of my friends helped me put it together. I was so delighted with it they could see the joy written on my face. It was just a table, but it was my table, and it completed my new home. I hope by now you understand how grateful I am and how much I love this little house. I am consciously aware that my appreciation is because I’d lived without for a few months.
Appreciating What You Already Have
It’s very easy when we’re surrounded by our own stuff every day, and living busy lives, to stop appreciating what we have. If we have a roof over our heads, food on the table and people who loves us then our basic needs are being met and we’ve lots to be grateful for.
Today is a good day to start a practice of gratitude.
Do you have a Gratitude Diary? Whenever I work with my clients I suggest that both Parents and Children get into the habit of completing their own gratitude journal every night before they go to bed. I suggest they start by writing one reason why they are grateful for a family member but I find their practice often grows to include other things.
Tonight mine might say, I am grateful for….
(i) Kathryn who runs my Rock Choir meetings. She is an amazingly enthusiastic and encouraging teacher.
(ii) Daleford Woods where I walk my dogs. It feels magical every day as I enter the woods and I love that I am now recognising certain trees and routes through the woods
(iii) Music. David Cassidy’s death this week reminded me that music has lifted my spirits since I was a teenager. I am also grateful to my friend Anna for taking me to see Rag n Bone Man at the beginning of the week.
(iv) The young people in my life. I was not gifted with children of my own but I have been surrounded by children all my adult life. Whether they are now friends or children of my friends, or whether they are children I have worked with, they have all brought such joy into my life and I will never stop being grateful for that.
What or who are you grateful for today? May be you could have a thanksgiving meal with your family tonight?
When you think of your children, what are the first 4 things that come to mind that you are grateful for? This is a proud Parent moment, please do share with us why you are grateful to have your children in your life.