I heard something a long time ago that stuck with me:
There are 2 kinds of people – the complainers and thankers. I have never been able to shake it.
The author Ann Voskcamp wrote a book on gratitude and she talks about the practice of being thankful and how it relaxes and softens the face and disposition. It lightens and enhances our countenance. Gratitude displaces whines and complaints. It can override and eliminate a dark mood, and it can also overcome worry, anger and self-pity. In other words, when we’re thankful, we’re happy. How awesome is that! That’s a good enough excuse for me to be thankful… and there is a reason one of the first things we teach our kids, is to say is “please” and “thank you.” We want them to be grateful. Yet, often times, it’s not just our kids who lack focus; sometimes its us. (I’m speaking for myself too here, guys.)
One way or another, our focus and our attitude determine our reality.
Where is our focus? Is it on ourselves? Is it on others? Is it discontent or comparison? Or is it gratitude? A grateful attitude helps us gain perspective.
I have one brother. I think he’s pretty great. I used to compare myself to him and feel inadequate because I saw him as “better.” He was better at sports. He was better at math. He had better hair (true story), he had better eyes (he got the blue eyes, I got the kidney stones), he got a better degree (a BA in Genetics – who does that!? and a MA in Biochemistry. My degree is in English - womp. womp.), he had a better job (seriously, his job title is Laboratory Supervisor for the Histocompatibility Laboratory, MD Anderson Cancer Center (I don’t even know what that means). He literally cures Cancer ?!?! There was a time when I couldn’t enjoy who I was, because I was so consumed by who he was. I’m not sure where it all came from, but I was insecure because I was busy comparing myself to him instead of being content with my own talents. I chose to feel sorry for myself; maybe I wasn’t verbally complaining about myself or my own shortcomings, but I certainly wasn’t being thankful, that’s for sure. A thankful heart helps remind us of how good life is, even when we possibly “think” it’s not. And my life was, and is, good – it’s pretty awesome.
One of the definitions of the word thankful is overwhelmed. I love this. What if we were overwhelmed with gratitude? What if we were completely overcome by all the goodness and all the blessings in our lives – big and small? What if our focus was on the good stuff – not the other stuff. Think about how much joy could come from that!
This time of year, being thankful can feel more like something on our to-do list rather than an overflow of our hearts. You can’t turn on gratitude just because it’s Thanksgiving. However, as we head into our final week of Session 16 and as we celebrate all the Barn work since September and roll into Thanksgiving with our family and friends, let’s be more intentional. Let’s be grateful. Let’s make every effort to give thanks.
Giving thanks that, if you live in, or near Park City, UT – it doesn’t get much better than that. If you work out at The Barn, you most likely have a fully functioning heart and body that keep you mobile and active!
And you are part of a COMMUNITY that needs you.
All reasons to be SO. VERY. GRATEFUL.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”- Victor Frankl
You guys, we’re in charge of our attitudes.
Let’s CHOOSE to be thankful…this week…always.