We are at the end of 2019, and at the end of every year come the celebrations and holidays. We have Thanksgiving, Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, Hanuka, and so many more celebratory days between that it is a good time to take a few moments and practice gratitude.
What does it mean to practice gratitude?
With the chaos of Black Friday and the rush to buy all the latest toys, gadgets, and gizmos, we often forget to be grateful for what we have and thankful that we can have it. As pagans, I feel we must remind ourselves and those around us that this season, whatever you celebrate, is not about the things . To practice gratitude means being appreciative that you have the stuff that you do have. This is not about not having anything that you need, because we all know there are people out in the world who go without out of necessity. Instead, we practice gratitude when we feel that we are getting too caught up in the turmoil that our culture throws at us.
Whenever there’s a grateful moment, I note it. I know for sure that appreciating whatever shows up for you in life changes your personal vibration. You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots. — Oprah
How do you practice gratitude?
I will not lie to you, practicing gratitude can be difficult if it is not something you were raised to do or a skill that you have developed. Our society is constantly barraging us with advertisements and billboards telling us we are not good enough or that we simply must buy the newest gadget to be on-trend and happy . You have to learn how to call their bluff, and it all starts with training your mind. Below I have listed a few ways you can start practicing gratitude in your life today.
Keep a gratitude journal
Write down things regularly that happen that you are grateful for. There is no right or wrong answer, here. If you are grateful for getting a close parking space, write it down. Over time, this will become second-nature to you when you learn to recognize the things that have affected you regularly.
If someone has positively affected you, express that to them in any way you know how. Write them a letter, give them a phone call, or just have a conversation with them. It is important to express how grateful we are for one another.
Volunteer and give back.
Some people in the world are less fortunate than others. Maybe they are homeless or sick. Maybe they are just having a tough time making ends meet. Maybe someone dropped that poor old pupper off at the shelter because they did not want him anymore. Either way, volunteering is a wonderful way to practice gratitude in your life. When you take time out of your day to help someone else, you are directly making their life a little easier - and that is something to be grateful for.
Help those around you practice gratitude, too!
Turn it into a game if you must, but helping others see the world for how beautiful it can be is a blessing. We do this at Thanksgiving (sometimes) but it is a good practice to have regardless. During dinner - or whenever you and your family gather together - take a moment to go around and have each person say something they are grateful for from that day. This is a wonderful practice to get children into, as well, so they will not have to unlearn the toxic behavior we were taught growing up.
As a pagan, I firmly believe that it is our responsibility to help the world around us. We cannot do that if everyone is steeped in toxicity and negativity from our culture. We are constantly told to buy certain objects or we will be missing out, or to change the way we look to be more appealing to others. This is not a healthy way to live, and learning how to practice gratitude regularly is step one to breaking the cycle.
How do you practice gratitude? Do you have any other ideas?