As we have just departed from the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend, it seems like an opportune time to consider gratitude and how we can truly be thankful. Sure, we all know we should be/want to be/know its the right thing to do, but the greater question is, are we really??
Yes, we all have our own “stuff,” where we feel unsatisfied with certain aspects of our lives; and yes, striving for more in life is not necessarily a bad thing. However, there may be a difference between healthy aspiration and perpetual discontent, and it may be as simple as asking yourself “am I truly thankful?”
There are so many things in life that can cause unhappiness and discontent – almost too numerous to try and flesh out in this blog. We may be unsatisfied with our physical bodies, our material status in life, our relationships, and the list goes on. Perhaps if we asked another question, the mindset may change. Rather then asking yourself what you are UNHAPPY with, turn it around and ask the more important question of what are you HAPPY with? Seems like a simple tweek, yet all of a sudden we have rerouted our attention from NEGATIVE to POSITIVE, and this can be a very powerful change. Just consider if each time you began spiralling into negative dissatisfaction, you changed direction to a positive thought; try it and see what happens. When we allow ourselves the space to be thankful and bring positivity into the body, eventually negativity begins to fall away.
I know what you may be thinking, “that sounds like an awful lot of work!” “You mean you want me to watch every thought I have and try to turn it to one of thankfulness and positivity??” However, as with everything we do, the more we start to do it, the easier it becomes. For me, yoga has given me this gift of allowing me the time to watch where the thoughts go. When we find ourselves on our mats, we have the time and space to be a witness to what is going on in the mind. It may even start with as simple a thought as “am I thankful I was able to practice yoga today or am I focussed on how well the practice may or may not be going for me.” Sometimes when we give ourselves the time to ‘notice where the mind is’ (a phrase we yoga teachers often say in class), we can not only redirect our thoughts to the positive, but we can also notice and sense some dissatisfaction. If there is something going on in the mind or body that is causing unhappiness, what now? IS it something within your control to change? If so, how do you change it? This is where positive change can find its way into your life; and we can be thankful for any step in this direction.