This week, as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, gratitude will be at the forefront of our minds. Wherever we gather– in our homes, our churches, or elsewhere in our community– we will ask and be asked, “What are you thankful for?”
The big things, obviously: our health, wealth, and the love of the ones we love. The new jobs, new friendships, or new success of the previous year; our old traditions and old, familiar faces. All that has changed for the better, and all that has remained perfectly, comfortingly the same.
Those are the things that leap to our minds, and that we swap with one another around tables and across big, comfy couches. But there are so many other things– tiny, ordinary things– that are often overlooked.
This year, I invite you to look deeper and observe those small things. Not sure where to start? Here are three suggestions…
One: Be thankful for your breath. Sit quietly and listen to your breath as it moves into, though, and out of your nostrils… your throat… and your chest. Every inhale brings you fresh, rejuvenating energy; every exhale frees you for something that you no longer need. Reflect on how effortlessly your breath continues to flow through you, no matter how busy your day becomes. The breath is a touchstone that is always available to re-center and ground you.
Two: be thankful for your body, wholly and unashamedly, whatever it’s condition. Celebrate the parts that feel strong and healthy, then equally embrace the parts that do not with loving kindness. Acknowledge all the things that your body makes possible, and honor it with all your heart. Begin to release negative perceptions of your body by noticing, and being thankful for, all the incredible things it does.
Third: be thankful for every single person in your life, from your dearest friends and loved ones to the ones who challenge you most. Put aside comparisons, and direct your energy towards the things you share in common threads with every other living being. Our differences are so small compared to all the ways that we are the same. Begin practicing ordinary ways to tell the people in your life that you appreciate them.
Now is the perfect time to cultivate a gracious spirit, but it doesn’t have to end when the meal is over and everyone has gone home. Gratitude is not a seasonal condition; it is a skill that we can practice all year long. And like a muscle, the more you exercise gratitude, the stronger it becomes.
Need a quiet, welcoming place (away from the holiday hubbub) to relax and reflect? Slip away to Radiance Yoga any day of the week! The studio will be open for one class on Thanksgiving Day; all other days have a full schedule of classes available. We are grateful for all of our students, teachers, and staff, and for the wonderful and supportive community they create. Om Shanti!
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