Dear kindred friend,
Can you believe that in just a day we will be in December?! I’m so very excited for December because it’s definitely my favorite month of the year. Mostly because of Christmas.. Hmm…no, it’s all because of Christmas.
But even though I’m so very excited for Christmas and December, I want to be sure to take pause on November and this season of practicing gratitude.
This month’s end of the month reflection question: “What are you grateful for this month? How are you choosing to practice gratitude?”
However, since this month I’ve been writing a daily list of gratitude, I figured I would change up the question and reflect on “How has this month of choosing gratitude impacted my November?”
I’ll admit, I didn’t want to practice a daily list of gratitude this month. I didn’t feel like it was something I “needed” to do. Not because everything has felt super peachy keen and wonderful and I’ve been in a place of gratitude all along. But rather because I just wasn’t in the mood to intentionally think through being grateful each day. I was feeling lazy and complacent and knew that having to think through gratitude each morning would require more of me than I felt I wanted to give. Even if it was for something good and growing.
Nevertheless, it was for that last reason that I chose to do it. I knew that it would be good for me to reflect on being grateful each day, to set my heart and perspective in the right place. I knew it would help me grow in being able to look beyond circumstances and the current feelings I might have. I knew it would help me practice wholehearted intention and embrace joy.
I also knew that once I said it in the world (either via Kindred Letter or social media), I would have the accountability I’d need to continue the posture.
So I did it.
Not every day was an easy day of coming up with things I was grateful for, or things I was choosing gratitude for. Not every day did I end the day feeling super calm or filled with gratitude. There were some not great days in November and there are still some things I’m wrestling with to see how I can be grateful for them. There are some things I’m struggling to see beyond the present of how they are impacting my life/someone else/etc. And maybe these things will take a long time to understand, or be things I never come to understand.
But there were more days where choosing and practicing gratitude at the start of my day was significant. I often found myself to be more present in a day and to be more attentive to others’ needs and desires (rather than my own). I could better appreciate the hard circumstances and situations, not to neglect the pain they still caused, but rather to be able to better see what good might come from them after the fact. I was more hopeful and joyful.
Choosing and practicing gratitude didn’t mean that the hard days weren’t there or that bad things didn’t stop. Choosing gratitude didn’t mean I was naïve about circumstances or the world’s happenings. But it did mean that I could have a better perspective and not leave myself in despair for too long. I could be balanced.
I didn’t start the practice of choose daily gratitude because I felt I had lots of reasons to be grateful, but because I knew that there would be growth and benefit. I knew (whether I felt it or not) that there would be intentionality and joy in the midst. And this remained true to the end.
Choosing gratitude isn’t always easy, and doesn’t have to just be practiced in November or around Thanksgiving, but is a posture and perspective I can take each day. I aim to incorporate this in my weekly rhythm in some capacity moving forward, and especially as 2021 approaches. How can I enter it with a proper perspective and right mindset?
More on preparing for 2021 well to come, but for now. How have you practiced gratitude this month friend?
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