The hidden power of gratitude

We carved pumpkins this weekend and that means we are officially gearing up for the fall/winter holidays! My daughter, at four, is very concerned with keeping them all in order. On the daily I hear, “so Mommy….first is my birthday, then Halloween with candy, theeeennnn Thanksgiving and after that Christmas, with presents, Right!?”

“Yes,” I say. “It’s Halloween, Thanksgiving and finally Christmas. You got it! And Christmas is about the birth of Christ and His coming into the world, as the greatest gift of all, remember!?” (Each time I still don’t think it lands…but we are working on it, ok!)

And then before I know it, she’s starting over again…”so, Mommy, first is MY birthday….”

You get it, no need to rehash it, but this is what it looks like to live with a four year old. They are like adorable little parrots who love to repeat whatever it is they are trying to memorize. Except, I think parrots will stop talking if you give them a cracker…whereas my kids seem to amp up when given food. (Although gum does keep their little mouths busy and quiet!)

We really do love to chat. I like that about her.
PS, BIG thank you to @joyfulstoryphotography for capturing our favorite pastime 🙂

But as my irritation begins to rise, I take a deep breath and realize that she is just trying to remember the order so she can understand the rhythm. AND she won’t always think I have answers, so I should enjoy this while it lasts 😉 I know as a teenager I was much smarter than my parents.

And it’s true. Not that I’m smarter than my parents but that rhythms really do help us bring meaning and order to our time. Over the years, I have found a rhythm to what I think about and what I do with each season. This helps make the moments meaningful and hopefully prevents me from forgetting anything too major.

This time of year, I like to move through delight & gratitude, then wonder & awaiting, and finally rejoicing on Christmas day. Although somewhere in early December there’s a lot of freak-out and scramble, but that could just mean my rhythm still needs a bit fine-tuning.

As a little girl, I remember practicing gratitude at our big Thanksgiving feast with my large extended family. We would take turns going around the table, and one-by-one, we would share what we were grateful for that year. I have a big family, so it took a long time but I was able to see shared themes among us, even though we had different stories.

But it’s when I became an elementary Spanish teacher that I changed my practice of gratitude so span the entire month. This was a new rhythm and I came to deeply enjoy it. Beginning in late October, my colleagues and I would spend what felt like hours cutting Thanksgiving cornucopias and pavos de gracias (gratitude turkeys) out of construction paper and then take them to class each day in November.

I loved seeing my students use their Spanish to fill in their turkey feathers with all the things they were grateful for in their lives.

Their little faces would light up with joy as they read out-loud what they were grateful for in front of their peers. Every kid wanted to share, and every kid wanted to sit and listen (which involved way more patience than they were usually willing to give!)  

I think it was worth it to them to listen because gratitude is contagious and ultimately breeds connectedness and joy.

Their innocent delight and willingness to share reminded me that I so often overcomplicate things as an adult.

The simple act of pausing, reflecting and sharing what they loved brought the energy of the room to a happy buzz as they connected over what they had in common and what made them different. I listened to enlivened conversations about pet names, sports teams, family traditions, favorite meals and before long, kids were shouting out, “Me too!” “I also have two dogs, but mine are smaller.” “Wait, you don’t eat turkey!?“ or “I don’t have a brother, but I have a sister and even though she spits up, I still like her too.”

Gratitude reminded our class of what we shared in common while also acknowledging our differences.

The more connections we made the more joy we uncovered.

In the season we find ourselves today, what would happen if we remembered the connectedness of our humanity, even while recognizing our differences?

What would happen if we chose to make space for gratitude and listening in a time where so many would rather fight and pick sides?

Let’s try!

If collective gratitude and listening hearts worked in a small Spanish classroom, I believe it can work in the spaces of our home and the world.

Join me in choosing a practice of gratitude for the whole month of November. May we ease into a rhythm of thanksgiving and be reminded of our connectedness.

If you’d like companionship on this journey of gratitude, come and begin your day with me!

Beginning November 3rd, I will guide a 35 minute yoga class each Tuesday of the month over Zoom where we will begin our day in gratitude and prayer and allow God to grow the fruits of His Spirit in our hearts and lives.

Find details and sign up below!

Join me for a Prayer Soul Yoga Series on Zoom
for the month of November!

Tuesdays, 6a – 6:30a – Soul Yoga practice with Guided Prayer

6:30a- 6:45a – Optional time of shared prayer

Starting November 3rd

$8 – Drop-in

Click here to Sign Up!

Head over the the “Yoga Schedule Tab” for more details.

Blessings of togetherness,

Devany

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