• Mary Lilja

Thanksgiving reflection: gratitude as a practice



“Enough is as good as a feast.” – Proverb

Before we begin our weekly staff meetings, we each share something we are grateful for from the past week: a visit with an old friend, the extra help from others on a client project, a quiet moment walking in the woods. All of these and more have surfaced in these moments before we plan our week.

Going through cancer over the past year, I found that gratitude wasn’t a feeling — it was a practice. Even in the midst of challenging treatments that brought me to my knees, there was almost always something to be grateful for: the smiles and kindness of the chemo infusion center nurses, a card from an old friend in the mail, the good book I was able to enjoy, the expressions of support from clients, co-workers and friends.

Now that I’m cancer-free, I find that gratitude is a great practice — not just around Thanksgiving, but every day. It’s really quite simple. At the end of each day, ask yourself: What was I grateful for today? What was a little moment or miracle that happened, even though I failed to appreciate it? And then: How can I be more mindful of moments like these?

Cancer taught me that even in the midst of difficult circumstances, there is always something to be grateful for.

As you gather with friends and family over the Thanksgiving holiday to reflect on the blessings of your life, consider committing to the daily practice of gratitude. It will enrich your life and the lives of others around you.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault


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