When I tell you that there is a month for EVERY. SINGLE. TOPIC., trust me! November is not only Scorpio Season for me.. lol – It is National Gratitude month!! If you know anything about me, you know how much gratitude has saved my life, opened my heart, and ignited a mindset for myself that I never imagined myself to function in. I’ve been practicing gratitude for over thirty years now and what I know for sure, is gratitude truly is the gift you give to yourself! Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving. So, obviously I did a little dance when I heard that November is National Gratitude Month! WOO-HOO!!!
I remember the first time I heard about gratitude was when Oprah Winfrey promoted ‘The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Oprah Winfrey referred to it as “life-changing” This journal was the original gratitude journal. Providing women, a place to record their daily moments of gratitude, while offering quotes of inspiration. Twenty-six years later and I still have my original journal and the countless journals I’ve written in since this time. All locked away in boxes secured neatly in my garage. These journals hold countless insights and stories of my life.
On October 30, 2015, the United States and Canada officially declared November as National Gratitude Month. This was spearheaded by Stacey Grewal, the author, spiritual mentor, and coach who advocated for the proclamation. In celebration, Grewal hosted a 30-Day Global Gratitude Challenge. Participants received a daily email outlining opportunities to practice gratitude in unique ways through strategies, tips and challenges. Grewal was also a certified Advanced Law of Attraction Practitioner and was proclaimed as the gratitude “guru” Part of her challenge was to showcase how leaning into gratitude, will make you happier, healthier & more physically fit. Those in gratitude will have a higher income, more satisfying personal and business relationships. All of which supported the research she knew and understood.
Gratitude is a deep sense of appreciation that fills you with joy and positive emotions. Gratitude is NOT superficial no surface level. There are three steps to become “one” with Gratitude.
- Be specific and detailed! Think soul filled. Think depth.
- Why are you grateful for “x” & how your life would change or how would you be impacted if “x” was no longer part of your life
- Say aloud, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! For “x” to your creator or who you may spiritually be connected to. The third Thank you seals the deal psychologically.
Best Tip #1: Grab yourself a notebook from the dollar store or your favorite bookstore – THIS will be your journal. I have always selected specific colors or covers or page colors etc. that spark my interest and catches my eye. This tip always allowed me to want to write in my ‘pretty’ journal that I loved! OH…AND – grab a special pen that you L.O.V.E. how it writes or maybe it’s a fancy pen that makes you smile when you look at it. Having a writing utensil, you love adds the extra touch to your journaling! ESPECIALLY as a newbie and it keeps this serial journal enthusiast inspired.
Best Tip #2: Be patient through this process. Maybe start with 1 per day/evening. Increase every other week, with 3 more daily and evening gratitude shares in your journal. Go at YOUR pace. Be consistent. And mostly give yourself grace during the times you forget or just don’t feel up to it in that moment. Don’t forget to be patient in your new endeavor and continue to encourage yourself forward! “Every project has challenges, and every project has its rewards.” – S.Schwartz.
Living with Gratitude has been related to humility, generosity, and mindfulness. There are tons of health benefits to a life lived with gratitude. Healthier relationships, being a better leader, more positive emotions, feeling happier, more optimism, increases ones’ self-esteem, reduces depression, improves sleep, and even helps you through substance abuse recovery. All these proven studies are just part of the gift that keeps on giving once you allow your mind, body, and spirit a space for growth along your path of becoming ‘one’ with gratitude!
Best Tip #3: Be open to seeing the light, the love, the gift, and or the blessing in every adversity, in every wrong turn, in every dark space you encounter from this day forward. Leaning into this in my mid-thirties was a real-life “light-bulb” moment! It was when I was on the heels of “finding me” again and with one of my best friends during a dark period in her life. She asked me to support her along this journey. I experienced exactly what my friend was about to endure. On this day, when I was silently waiting for my friend to recover; I found myself questioning God about my life so far; “WHY God!” “WHY-WHY-WHY” “Have I not proven myself already, endured enough, etc. While my mind was like a hamster on a hamster wheel, is when my “light-bulb’ moment hit me… THIS IS WHY!!! It was that very second when I understood my journey to date was NOT about me, it was ALL about me overcoming ‘xyz’ so I can be there for others who may not be able to muscle through for a variety of reasons. And in this moment is when my mind which was on an endless hamster wheel shifted to understanding that EVERY SINGLE adversity was for me to take the lesson, take the blessing, take the experience to share with others. To share the lesson, the gift the blessing. To shine these gifts of gratitude onto others WITHOUT ever wanting anything in return! It was this very second when I sat in silence thinking back to all my adversities and storing these gifts to share with others as I encounter them. YES, those dark hard days have gifts, lessons and blessings entwined within them. This is how you see a pinhole light in your darkest days.
MY LESSONS. MY BLESSINGS. MY GIFTS.
- For those who abused me as a child. Thank you for teaching me that you too were abused. Thank you for allowing me to learn about forgiveness. Forgiving you who never apologized or took ownership and for myself for allowing you to take advantage of my innocence. I no longer lived under your power once the power of forgiveness enveloped me to move forward.
- To all the adults around me the day and weeks after I found out my birth mom gained wings and my birth dad gained handcuffs. These days and weeks after, you gifted me with the realization that life will throw you curveballs, adversities, and setbacks. However, life goes on. Birthdays, celebrations, school, and life continues. You never asking me how I felt, what I needed, nor what my thoughts were taught me that we can not rely on others to move, respond, act as we expect them to. We must expect them to be them and either accept it as is or decide to remove yourself out of the spaces they enter.
- To my first love, the one I thought I’d be married to forever. Thank you for showing me that love can be the grandest joys and love can be the hardest most heart wrenching experiences you may ever encounter. Thank you for teaching me that love may start as the most incredible and most beautiful thing you have ever experienced and without communication, similar goals and a constant way of connection can diminish the love very quickly. Thank you for confirming that love is infinite and time allows one to see love again in it’s pure state, to never give up on love, to never give up on the possibilities of an ordained love and that love truly will find you when the stars align.
- To my God for gifting me with both the one thing I ran away from and the one thing I knew I could not live without. Thank you for allowing me the time before my son was born to mourn the child, I was growing inside of me, so I can be the best mom I could be the moment my son with Down Syndrome was born. Thank you for gifting me the opportunity to advocate from a place of being uneducated to a mom who now speaks up for equality for all lives. And mostly, God thank you for taking me down six weeks of pure torture debating over morals, life, and my faith. This journey allowed me to restore my faith in you, my faith in the process and my faith in the paths you set before me as I learned that prayers truly change things even if your prayers come to fruition a bit different than our shallow or limited mindset.
My hope is that some of my lessons, blessings, and gifts shared here with you allows you to to seek your own personal lessons, blessings, and gifts of life from your trauma, abuse, and or grief. Today, I know for sure, I would not be able to talk about my life in a positive frame of mind if I never allowed my mind, my body, and spirit to be open to receiving gratitude. Gratitude not only saved my life, but it also saved my soul. Gratitude not only opened my heart, it opened up my opportunities. Gratitude not only ignited a mindset I get to share with each of you today, I know I am blessed to offer a little gift to others to let them know I see you, I understand you, I support you, and I can’t wait to see your evolution through gratitude! Promise me, promise yourself one of the most valuable and priceless gifts of life that costs nothing more than time to see the light in your darkest days.
GRATITUDE! = THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING!
Please connect with me, I’d love to support your gratitude journey and hear about your progress.
Much love and appreciation always – Mary Kim Farkas