Thankful Holiday Exercise

This past Thanksgiving, I wanted my family to partake in my journey of reflection. I didn’t want to force or leave anyone out of the exercise if they felt uncomfortable participating. Instead I told them I would start it off by expressing my gratitude for having each one in my life. I wrote a “Thank-you” note for each person at the dinner table.

"Thank you" Cards

Gartner Studios “Card Crafting Line”

Every note was specific to each person yet broad enough that anyone else in the room could relate to each one and apply it to the same recipient or another person. Needless to say they were all teary-eyed by the end of the readings and my family thanked me for having surprised them with it.

This past week I was thinking about doing it again for Easter, on April 20. Only this time I would include a couple hershey kisses and colorful eggs! And because of the positive reaction I received from my family I would like to include my close friends as well.

I felt amazing after it. I did something for myself and others. It didn’t cost me that much, instead I would say it took more time to write what I wanted to express. That I found to be the challenging part although it was such a rewarding task.

I would encourage you to try it. Even if its done randomly and not around a holiday. You’ll love it!

Props to Sarah Kathaleen Peck’s Grace & Gratitude Course

And here is why…

Over the winter I participated in Sarah Kathleen Peck’s “Grace + Gratitude: a two week journey for the heart, mind, and soul.” I was very honest with her about not being able to do each task in the time frame of the class and her response was truly amazing and what I needed.

“I tried to design it so that if you were on a subway or in between classes, you could still read and enjoy the essays and stories, and just that would be a little trigger to start your thinking to open up during the day.”

I am doing this a little different this time around. I am going to be open and share my experiences. My goal is to continue this journey more then 14 days. And to also create a connection with my readers and make new friends!

Feel free to comment and/or answer the question.

What does gratitude mean to you? In what ways do you practice gratitude in your life right now?

To me, it means, to be aware of what you have and had and be thankful for it. Reflection plays an important role in gratitude. We must reflect about our experiences and interactions in order to understand the significance role it played in our life. I make connections with what I am doing or what is currently happening in my life and how I got to that point. It helps to remind myself of key people that I have encountered and befriended.

This is a recent phenomenon as I started to question why I do things or why I was feeling the way I was.

I believe actively practicing gratitude can be difficult and lost in the shuffle of life. For a while last year I was lost and couldn’t figure out where I was headed which caused me to ignore other areas of my life. I actually wasn’t sure what I was grateful for. It wasn’t till I did some soul searching and faced my fears. I’ll admit it did not happen right away! I made one of the biggest decisions in leaving my steady secure job at Apple. I had just celebrated my fifth year! But I needed to do it for myself. I craved something different plus my priorities had changed. Finishing my undergrad was #1 on my list. So I made the plunge.

This was my first holiday since I can last remember I did not work in retail. I was actually home and available to my family. It was the holidays and the family gatherings that brought me to this journey of self-reflection.

One of my responsibilities at Apple was to be a mentor and resource to my team. I truly believe you earn that right with your peers. It is not a role that can be simply handed to someone. Trust and rapport are critical components. Both traits I hope to gain with my fellow readers. In terms of being a resource for my readers, I will post readings, videos, music, or documents to share.

This blog is one way that I will be continuing my practice of gratitude in my life.