It’s the week of Thanksgiving! My favorite holiday of the year.
I love all the traditional Thanksgiving foods (yes please give me all of the stuffing, turkey and pie). The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, the football games, and of course most of all the family time and the relaxed vibe that comes with this holiday.
There are no expectations to meet, no crazy running around – just time to hang out and be together.
It’s also the time when we all really take a moment to focus on one my absolute favorite things (and I’m guessing one of yours too) – giving thanks.
Up until a few years ago, gratitude was not part of my daily vocabulary.
Now some version of thank you crosses my mind, and my lips, several times throughout the day. It’s not that I wasn’t thankful before, it was just that I didn’t pay attention to all of the things I had to be thankful for.
I focused my time, attention and energy on what wasn’t working and all that I had to figure out and do (work, bills, to do lists…ya know, normal life stuff). I took things for granted, assuming that what I had would always be there. And honestly, I just didn’t see all of the cool stuff that was happening around me.
But something shifted for me a few years into my journey with unexplained infertility. I was so mad at my body. I felt like it had let me down and betrayed me. I felt shame as a woman, that this thing my body was built to do didn’t work. And I got to a point where I was at a loss, I didn’t know what else to do, and then someone suggested to try a practice of gratitude.
The practice was simple – each night when you lay in bed, do a body scan. Move from the top of your head all the way to the tips of your toes and give thanks for what’s working. Your brain for running everything. Your eyes for seeing. Your ears for hearing. Your heart for beating. Your lungs for breathing, etc.
Move through every-single-body part, pause, acknowledge and give thanks for it working.
This practice takes just a few minutes, and it changed my life. I’m guessing if you give it a try, you’ll be amazed by how it changes you too!
Focusing on what’s working and giving thanks is not about negating the pain. It’s about being able to see all that’s truly there.
My eyes seeing didn’t make infertility any better. But it did make it possible for me to step out from under that dark cloud that had infiltrated every single area of my life.
That’s what a gratitude practice does – it helps you to also see what is working.
It’s not about some fake positivity – “let’s sugarcoat all the things, paint the world pink and ride on unicorns.” It’s about letting the good, the bad and everything in between coexist. It’s about finding some messy version of balance so that you can be happy amidst an imperfect life.
It’s hands down one of the most powerful things you can do.
And once you do it – once you start thanking your body for what’s working, your job for the purpose it serves, your family and friends for the love they give, your neighbor for bringing in your trashcan, the mail person for delivering your mail, the barista at Starbucks for making your latte, the salesperson at Nordstrom for helping you find a great pair of jeans – truly for all of the things. You’ll be amazed at the profound perspective shift that takes place.
It all starts with you seeking out every single opportunity to say thank you.
This Thanksgiving is a great time to start. When you’re sitting around the table with your family and friends, remember to give thanks – for the people, the pets, the warmth, the laughter, the food – for all of it. Look around you and say thank you for every single thing you possibly.
The life you’re living right now truly is a blessing. See it as that.