Although I didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving, and the traditions of Turkey and trimmings don’t mean so much to me (as a vegetarian especially ;)), the act of giving thanks, of expressing gratitude, is one that I love dearly.
Someone explained it like this once: when you walk into a room full of flowers for the first time, you notice how beautiful it is. You literally (and I don’t use that word lightly) smell the roses. You pay attention to the colours, the scent, the way their presence makes you feel calm, centered, uplifted. But spend enough time in that room, and you stop noticing they’re even there. The smells no longer hit you. Their beauty is lost on you. Their amazingness fades and becomes your new normal.
One day someone visits you in that room for the first time. They point out how gorgeous your surroundings are, rave about the sweet scent, gush about the vivid hues. And for a few minutes, you begin to see it again too.
We can learn how to pay attention by giving thanks regularly. Paying attention to the little things that make up the better part of the day has influenced my happiness enormously over the last 2 years. It has allowed me to build better friendships, strengthen my love for family, eat better, get out in nature more, be a nicer person, and feel infinitely more content.
But learning to pay attention to things and be grateful for them is not (only) about improving your happiness – although studies show that if we as individuals start by working on our own happiness, society improves significantly as result. Giving thanks is about letting those people and things in your life, those who make each day a little brighter but sometimes become the roses, know just how much they mean to you and that you don’t take that for granted. And that, my friend, means you.
This Thanksgiving, I give thanks for:
– Every single reader of this blog and the weekly newsletter I’ve been sending out for 18 months now. I love writing each post and update for you, it’s truly the most energizing part of my week.
– The phenomenally talented writers who have given their time to The Write Life Magazine this year. We’ve had over 50 contributors in 6 months, we’ve interviewed New York Times Bestsellers, artists, award-winning comedians and bloggers, and each writer has helped us earn the gorgeous response to our passion project.
– Writers who persevered to write books that took my breath away this year and reminded me why I write. Among my 2013 favourites: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte.
Life is good when you pay attention. (For Thanksgiving dinner we’ll be devouring Chinese food which I ALWAYS pay attention to ;)). Enjoy whatever you’re eating and drinking, and the company you keep, whether you celebrate Turkey day or not. And of course…
Image credit: Rose Dacapo, by T. Kiya on Flikr. Used under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Laura’s class has given me the tools and the confidence to sell what I am certain will be great numbers of books. She is an outstanding teacher (I should mention that I taught college English for 25 years, and that I was publisher of a small press for about eight years).