The decibel level of anger, dissatisfaction and grumbling expresses a fearful way of life. When you instead choose a life of thankfulness you experience yourself and others with life-giving energy. You have a choice. Choose to be thankful!
Here are five choices for living a life of thanksgiving.
1. Name Your VIPs. Create a list of the seven living very important people in your life. This might include those whose presence you could not imagine living without or those with whom you have a relationship of complete trust. Itemize one or two qualities in the life of each person on your list that make your relationship life-giving and unique.
Be intentional about creating time to video chat, call or see each person on your list. Express to each one the particular gratitude you have for them.
2. Out the Dreaded One. Most of us have someone whom we dread seeing at gatherings. The mad uncle who makes incendiary comments, the batty aunt who has no filters, the cousin who sucks the air out of conversation with his life-draining negativity or the sibling with whom a repaired relationship seems impossible. Name that person and out them to yourself.
Instead of allowing a sinking feeling about their presence to occupy your life practice detachment by which you offer their well-being with loving intention to the Universe.
3. Have Your Magnificent Moment. Name one or two qualities about yourself that are magnificent. More than an exercise of self-indulgence, this is a practice that grounds your life in the wisdom that, "I am because you are." Your existence is both cause for thanksgiving and a reminder of our need for one another.
Embracing and celebrating the unique magnificence of your life shifts the way your experience others. It is your passport to a way of being aware of the magnificence of those around you.
4. Give a Shout Out. Express your thankfulness instead of assuming it is self-evident. Keeping your gratitude unspoken is like being in love and not letting the one you love know it. Commit to a simple practice of choosing to express your thanksgiving to one other person each day. At first you may think your shout out's are going into thin air but with each one your consciousness shifts.
Your shout outs of gratitude ground your life in generosity. They attract the energy of those around you who live with thankfulness.
5. Act Thankfully. Be open to opportunities to do something for others. Affirm the circle of life with daily acts of kindness. Perhaps hold a door open for a parent struggling with a stroller and kid, lift a bag into an overhead bin, take a distressed colleague out for coffee, make time to listen to someone or give money to a good cause.
The simplest acts of kindness express your thankfulness for life. Every act of kindness is an expression of thanksgiving. It makes you feel happy and celebrates our need of one another.
Instead of succumbing to the noise of those who peddle fear, these five choices are part of your GPS for living a mindful life of gratitude and thankfulness. They create a way of intentional living in the midst of often busy and stressful lives. How will you choose?
Robert V. Taylor is president of the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation in New York and a commentator, speaker and author of A New Way to Be Human.