Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

By Margaret Kirschner, November 2013

Thanksgiving is in the air and it’s the season to cultivate the attitude of gratitude! Remembering to be grateful can be beneficial to our health, not only during the month of November, but always!

Why is it so easy to forget this simple practice?

Most of us take advantage of the luxury of knowing we have food to eat and a place to sleep, and we forget to take time to notice the abundance of gifts that surround us and fill our daily lives with blessings that cannot be bought. Cultivating the attitude of gratitude is a profound, life-affirming practice that we’re reminded to explore especially in November, the season of Thanksgiving.

Do you have a roof over your head, food in your refrigerator, a place to lay your head at the end of the day, a warm blanket, adequate clothes, and an ability to be upright and mobile? Pause and take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are truly blessed by the simple things. Then reflect on what it took to grow the trees that provided the lumber to build your roof and house, the people, sun, water, transportation it took to make the food available for your purchase and eating pleasure, the talent, insight and specialized skills by so many to provide you with so much. The miracle and mystery of being born, being alive and aware in this moment, able to take in these words through your eyes and comprehend their meaning is a priceless gift. The breath that you are receiving right now is a precious miracle!

Gratitude can be cultivated; it simply takes practice. Stop and notice all that is right and good and you will surely notice that the whole universe flows with gifts that open at your feet and fill you completely with love and support. When you come to your yoga mat and stand in mountain pose, feel the earth rise up to meet your feet and say a simple thank you to your toes, sweep your arms out and up smiling as you lift your gaze toward your thumbs, bring your head back to neutral and close your eyes to receive your gift of awareness of this breath, this moment, this miracle of being alive.