A lot to be grateful for including this beautiful addition to my small garden-an elegant pink arum lily.
I am a senior citizen, I grew up hearing four magic words in my parents’ home which I later taught my children and they are now teaching them to their children. They include: “ Please’’, “Thank you’’, “I’m sorry’’, “ You’re Welcome’’. As I grew up, they expanded to include, “excuse me’’ and “May I’’. Like the dynamite, they are small but very powerful words. They are used in our daily life and have come to represent good manners across the board.
Good manners are not absorbed but are seen and copied by children as they watch their parents do what they do. Among the commonly used words in my childhood were “Thank you.’’ These words were as natural to my parents as the first greeting of the day and were always part of their normal conversation. They could thank me several times for the same act of kindness. Their behaviour rubbed on to all of us and continues in the grandchildren.
As 2022 draws to the end, I have a myriad of things to be grateful for more so after the unprecedented two-years COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. In a world full of wars and natural disasters: floods, fires, earthquakes, famine and here in my country, Uganda, facing a grim post-COVID economy,
drought in Karamoja , northern Uganda, floods in Kasese and Mbale in eastern Uganda.
And most worrying, the break out of the Sudan Strain of the Ebola disease in two of the districts in central Uganda. Being up and about today cannot simply be taken for granted.
Thanking God by counting my blessings other than my burdens is the right thing to do. If not, I may remain buried under the rubble of life. Practicing an attitude of gratitude irrespective of what is going on around me makes me feel positive and hopeful, energises me to be able to deal with adversity and build strong relationships.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in life is the foundation for all ABUNDANCE.’’ – Eckhart Tolle
Among the things I am most grateful for are:
• Being alive- up and about- the COVID-19 pandemic crystallised well how fragile life is.
• Writing- making a difference to people’s lives in my small way.
• Caring for my nonagenarian mother- continued sharing of our lives together and other siblings.
• Motherhood- it never ends. It has now endowed me with the gift of being called “Jajja’’/grandmother.
• Lifetime friendships- making it easier to share highs and lows and to trust life more.
• Being open to continued dreaming and learning- it has taught me that there is no limit to what is possible in life.
According to Mindful.Org
Living with an attitude of gratitude improves our mental health and helps us to appreciate small positive things and little moments in life.
We have all to learn to practice gratitude every day. Here are some of their recommendations to encourage us practice gratitude every day while building our lifetime capacity for gratitude.
- Keep a gratitude journal to record and recall moments of gratitude.
- Remember the hard times that you experienced before-it multiplies the gratitude.
- Meditate on your relationships with family, friends, colleagues at work- Consider what you have received from them, what you have given them and what troubles and difficulties you have caused. Affirm the good things that you receive from others and acknowledge the role other people play in providing your life with goodness.
- Gratitude lubricates all relationship as it reduces friction between people.
- Share your gratitude with others- it strengthens relationships.
- Apply your five senses of: touch, smell, vision, taste and hearing, to express your gratitude for being alive.
- Make a vow to practice gratitude every day. It reminds us of the goodness of the people in our lives and builds our capacity for being more grateful.
- Focus on the good things that others have done on your behalf- with the aim of expressing and thanking them through gifts.
- Notice the people and things around you and appreciate them. Acknowledge gratitude through smiles, saying thank you, writing notes of gratitude.
- Spread gratitude through your social media platforms- grateful people are more mindful of others.
Carry the attitude of Gratitude wherever you go.
The psychologists tell us that when we notice goodness and beauty and are thankful for them , we experience pleasure. This feeling stimulates the brain to release the ‘feel good hormones’: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Endorphins and Serotonin. Dopamine makes us feel pleasure, satisfaction and motivation.
Endorphins are the body’s natural pain killers, they reduce stress and discomfort while oxytocin promotes social interaction; bringing people closer.
Grateful people are happy , less depressed, they are optimistic and positive.
Showing gratitude strengthens our immune systems, improves sleep patterns and makes us feel more helpful and generous.
Observing what is going on around me during the period of October to January, I have come to define this period as the main Season of GRATITUDE.
I am a Christian and I know very well that during the month of October up to early November, Anglican churches hold Harvest celebrations to thank God for the abundance of the harvest of the fruits of the earth. Offering the best of all that your land produces honours God and has great rewards: Proverbs 3:9-10.
Thanksgiving in USA
In 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving day in America. It is a day for family and friends to gather to celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Currently it is the busiest holiday of the year and falls on the Last Thursday in November.
From economist.com, Thanksgiving day has been celebrated in America since 1621. In November 1620, a group of English pilgrims landed in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and a year later, they had a successful harvest which they celebrated with a Turkey feast. It is a day for being thankful- sharing what you are most thankful for in your life. They also give back by collecting and giving food to the needy.
This year, it was celebrated last Thursday 24th November.
The Festive Season
Out of habit, by early December, radio stations start playing the Christmas carols ushering in the Festive season, centred on the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Familiar Christmas carols like Long Time Ago in Bethlehem, Jingle bells, Silent Night, Joy To the World, We wish you a merry Christmas, and a variety of local ones are common staples that flood my heart with joy; bringing my faith alive. They also remind me of what it was like to be young and to have big dreams.
No doubt this year I shall be most thankful for 65 plus Christmases that I have so far celebrated with family and friends. It is a welcome throwback to childhood as well as a celebration for the gift of Life.
We are now in the Festive season- a season for family gatherings, religious services and gift giving.
The Christmas holiday will be followed on its heels by the New Year holiday. We can all use this opportunity to express our gratitude to God by caring for the needy among us.
There is a local proverb about thanking people for what they do. It says: Ndyebaaza ndya tagunjula munafu. Loosely translated, it means that waiting to thank anyone for a task completed does not motivate lazy people to be useful. Ideally thank someone for the little effort taken towards completing the main task.
The Buddhists consider gratitude as a reflection of someone’s integrity and civility.
How often do you use the short but significant two words: Thank You?
What effect do they have on the people around you?
Thank you for taking time to read this post and leaving a comment.