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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Thanksgiving Experiment



Thankfulness is something I rarely feel when rushing through my busy day. I’m usually too busy honking at the car in front of me, meeting deadlines, and picking the slowest line at the grocery store. My day swirls before me, and I get sucked into it like a vortex, spinning around, seeing everything, and yet noticing nothing.

So, with Thanksgiving coming up I decided to set one day apart and make a conscious effort at being thankful. Doing this would mean I would have to engage in the moment, instead of blasting through my day like a meteor through the stratosphere.

As I began my experiment I noticed it took great deal of discipline to pull myself out of my head and back into the moment, kind of like having a conversation with someone while your mind is elsewhere, but my effort was soon rewarded by a number of pleasant surprises. Firstly, was waking up in a comfortable bed next to a loving spouse, and knowing that we would face the day together, like army buddies, no matter what life brought to our door.

Later, stepping outside to walk my dog, I noticed the smell of the morning, and how it carried with it memories from my childhood. I found myself profoundly thankful for the ability to walk as I strolled down the road with my faithful dog leading the way, and the birds chirping out a happy soundtrack to the scene.

As the day progressed so did my gratefulness. Browsing the supermarket isles I thought of the countless times I had cursed the chore, complaining about not knowing what to buy for supper. But on this day I was stunned by the multitude of choices offered to me, and humbled by the painful truth that the majority of people in the world do not have the same wonderful choices; or even enough food to sustain them.

Being in the moment has opened me up like a spring bloom, causing me to gush with thanks for nearly everything, from freedom and health, to my favorite chair and beach sand between my toes.

Noticing the way my daughter’s eyes brighten at the mention of her dad’s spaghetti sauce fills me up way more than any Thanksgiving day feast ever could, and eavesdropping on my macho son while he baby talks to our Chihuahua, makes me grateful for the tenderhearted man he has become. All of these ordinary things are sort of the infrastructure to my life, yet I ignore their importance, until something goes wrong with one of them.

Taking time to give thanks has centered me, and made me more content, yet, I can’t help worrying that within a week I’ll be back to my old ways of stomping through life and missing out on what really matters. Being human takes an awful lot of practice, but seeing the miracles within the ordinary makes it all worth while. You should give my little experiment a try.
Happy Thanksgiving!

31 comments:

Jane said...

A great reminder about what life is all about when we typically only think about at this time of the year. -- There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is. Albert Einstein -- Yes, it does take a very conscious effort especially in our techno-microwave day. Thank you for writing this L.C. !!

L.C. Griffith said...

Exactly Jane. We rush around in some sort of hurried trance and miss out on living in the process.

Rimly said...

I do the same Leah. Rush through my life. It takes a lot of conscious effort to just be in the moment and be thankful for all the things in my life. But once I do that, there is a sense of calm in me for awhile before I take off again. Lovely post

JANU said...

So true, thanks for reminding...and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. May you rejoice life everyday.

Shreya said...

"Being human takes an awful lot of practice, but seeing the miracles within the ordinary makes it all worth while".

This line is so inspiring, and full of positive energy. Thanks for sharing :) xx

SJ said...

It's posts like this that give me such a warm feeling when I'm reading and make me smile. There's so much that we can miss and I really get what you mean about going back to your old ways but even if it's only once in a while that you stop and take in the moments, they are still moments that you would never see if you didn't. Also something tells me that having made this conscious choice it'll start appearing more often than not.

J. R. Nova said...

Now can you do that every day?

Jan said...

A wonderful post, gratitude does take practice, until as you say something happens. I try to remember everyday to be grateful for the wonderful miracles that are an everyday part of my life. Thank you for this. Happy Thanksgiving. <3<3

Leah Griffith said...

Hi Rimly, why is it so hard to stay present and grateful? Practice practice practice!! LOL!! We'll get it right once and for all! Thank you for your visit Rimly;)

Leah Griffith said...

Hi Janu, thank you! I'm cooking for the family and then I might be heading out of town for a week. We'll see.
XO

Leah Griffith said...

Sweet Shreya, each time you visit you bring buckets of positive energy...it must follow you wherever you go!
XO

Leah Griffith said...

Hi SJ, yes perhaps I hang on this time and remember to see what's in front of me...life. I've been so blessed in so many ways.
It's nice to see you. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

Leah Griffith said...

Mr. Nova, I doubt it. But...I will try;)

Leah Griffith said...

Jan, I really have gotten better at this. It's as though I see each moment as a flash of life, important all on its own. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
XO

sparklemezen said...

I think this is a great way to be thankful... I try to do this.I focus on one thing a day.. sometimes it works and other times it does not. But I do not get all knotted up if I fail... as everything action is a learning time for me!

sulekkha said...

Lovely and warm post, made me reflect and thankful for the blessings I have in my life. Thank you for the reminder.
http://www.sulekharawat.com/

melissa said...

Oh geez...I lost a whole comment lol...

Maybe so I could reflect more on what you wrote.

But as I've written earlier, here in my country we don't celebrate Thanksgiving --- no turkeys, no Thanksgiving speech, no dinner with relatives and all that ~ and yet I celebrate this day with you along with my other friends in the US.

I'd like to try that experiment the whole day. I've lost a bit of myself in a while and I'd like to capture a thanksgiving moment with my loved ones too :)

All the blessings this day :)

Roy Durham said...

i bet you have found more time to get things done and enjoy life more. fantastic post god bless

Tameka said...

This was beautifully written Leah. I found myself chuckling throughout because I could actually see you rushing through your day. I have been there and when we take time to slow down we really can see our blessings more clearly. Don't worry about returning to the norm, it is expected. But you know your blessings are treasures and I'm sure you will be thankful even in your haste. :-)

http://lyricfire.typepad.com/lyric-fire/2011/11/lyric-fire-turkey-ice-cream.html

Leah Griffith said...

Sparkle, I love your attitude. Everything teaches us...even our own impatience. Thank you for your thoughtful words.
XO

Leah Griffith said...

My Dear Sulekkha, yes, we're blessed, over and over again. I need to be reminded of this when I'm tempted to become impatient and complain.
Thank you for your visit.
XO

Leah Griffith said...

Miss Melissa, you will be here in spirit, celebrating with all of us. I actually see the entire holiday season, from Thanksgiving through New Years, as a time of reflection, gratitude, and remembering. It's a rich time for my soul, touching all the senses.
Thanks for visiting Melissa, it's always a joy to see you.
XO

Leah Griffith said...

Hi Roy, God bless you and your family this Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season. Please pass the pie;)
XO

Leah Griffith said...

Tameka, you have the words of a wise seer. Indeed, I can't worry when I slip backwards into bad habits. Instead, I'll remind myself to open my eyes and see all that is around me.
Happy Thanksgiving Tameka, and thank you for stopping in.
XO

Mani said...

Nice way to say thanks...happy thanksgiving Leah...

God Bless U!!

Love
Mani

AngelJane said...

Darling Leah
I truly felt as if I were reading all about myself... What wonderful ideas you have, so much so I want, no I need to have a day of thankfulness!

Happy Thanksgiving Beautiful Lady :)

Dangerous Linda said...

i took a character assessment test recently which determined that my strongest character strength is 'appreciation of beauty' which is very similar to gratitude, i think. i feel grateful most of the time.

one thing i've noticed in the past week, though, is how easy it is to forget to appreciate the things you refer to as: "all of these ordinary things are sort of the infrastructure to my life..."

for example, my boyfriend is not usually a sentimental, romantic kind of guy and that frustrates me sometimes. but, then i remember how precarious my personality was before i met him. he anchors and grounds me. he truly contributes to me being a better, stronger, more empowered me! what could be more romantic than that?

good reminders to appreciate the little things, on which everything else rests ;-x

Martha J. M. Orlando said...

Yes! Seeing the miracles in every little thing and being thankful - I've had to work on this one, too, but it is worth every second of my conscious thought and has made me so much more sensitive to the needs and the uniqueness of those around me.
Perfect post for Thanksgiving!
Blessings, Leah!

Leah Griffith said...

Angel, I hope your Thanksgiving was beautiful. I've been on the road for a few days now. Traveling is fun, but I don't get much writing done;)
I guess I'm doing research of a sort...yeah...I like that., Researching pies and skies, roads and music downloads;)
Have a fantastic weekend!

Leah Griffith said...

Linda, you've given me pause to think this morning. I love how you identified what could be interpreted as a flaw in your boyfriend as a romantic trait, giving you added strength. I'll have to ponder this today.
Enjoy your weekend and thank you for the food for thought.
XO

Leah Griffith said...

Martha, I hope you've had a fabulous Thanksgiving! I'm out of town for a while with not much time to check emails and posts. How sweet it was to find your loving words waiting for me;)
XO

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