Gratitude Feast

It’s Thanksgiving week.  O, how I love Thanksgiving!  (I love it so, that I must use the biblical “O” rather than the regular “Oh.”)  Thanksgiving is the best holiday ever, period.  With its focus on the nourishment of victuals and family (born-into or chosen) and gratitude, it fills me up body and soul.

When it comes down to it, nothing increases happiness more than gratitude. Understanding the power of gratitude, I have used a variety of practices over the years to strengthen my gratefulness muscles.  This week, I offer two gratitude practices that I have been using in recent months that have ramped up my personal happiness and peacefulness in a big way.  One is a Gratitude Feast and one is a Gratitude Fast.  So in honor of my favorite holiday, this post will be a two-parter!

Part I:  Gratitude Feast

The Gratitude Feast I call a Unique Gratitude Journal.  Off and on for years I’ve written a gratitude journal in which I write 5 things that I’m grateful for at the end of each day.  It was inspired by reading Sarah Brathnach’s book, Simple Abundance:  A Day Book of Comfort and Joy in which she says (and I’m paraphrasing here) that no one can be the same after writing a gratitude journal for 3 months.  I think she’s right.  Gratitude is that powerful.  What I discovered, though, was that especially when the going was difficult and I was stressed, I tended to be grateful for the same things every day.

“Frank, my home, my cats, good food, my healthy body.”

“Frank, my home, my cats, good food, my healthy body.”

“Frank, my home, my cats, good food, my healthy body.”

Good things to be grateful for, to be sure, but I found that when I was anxious or unhappy, my gratitude perspective definitely narrowed.

A Unique Gratitude Journal practice is one in which I write one thing that I’m grateful for at the end of every day – and it has to be something different every day.  Suddenly, every day becomes a treasure hunt.  Every day, I’m on the lookout for what my one thing is going to be that day.  Here are some examples of some of my recent unique gratitudes:

8.18.12 > peeling peaches for birthday picnic

8.31.12 > little black birds on a wire

9.2.12 > smoked olive oil & pistachios

9.7.12 > a mourning dove running on little orange feet

9.26.12 > Helen’s red glasses

10.6.12 > a black cricket in the grass

Being the observant readers that you are, you might notice that none of these entries mentioned “Frank, my home, my cats, good food, my healthy body” per se.  These entries are more specific, more precise.  And while that reliable cast of characters does pop up in one way or another now and again, what I find is that looking for one unique gratitude every day increases my gratitude for everything every day.

Give it a go!  All it takes is a pen and paper and a willingness to see new wonders in the world every day.

Tomorrow, Part II of the Thanksgiving Week two-part post:  Gratitude Fast!

  1. joy said:

    happy to give it a go – thank YOU! 🙂

  2. As always, Y-Joy, I’d love to hear what you discover! xo

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