Generally speaking, I am grateful type. I say, “Thank you, God” with regular frequency.  I acknowledge drivers when they let me merge into traffic from an uphill entry ramp and am appreciative of any and all assistance, information, and service. Unexpected beauty in nature can stop me in my tracks with awe and gratitude. Hopefully, my loved ones hear often enough the reasons they fill my heart and make my life go ‘round.

I feel I have gained a certain fluency with gratitude and à la The Dalai Lama who says kindness is his religion; I aim for both kindness and gratefulness, those high vibratory practices, to be a part of my daily conscious regimen.  This can be challenging. I want to forego the roll of the eye and the raise of the eyebrow. My goal is to leave judgment and the snarky comments at the door, be kinder to myself, and allow others to be just who they are. I want to be grateful that our paths have intersected and that we are sharing the same morphogenic field of chatting energies. Who knows what I can learn from you, how you can stretch my heart, or make me aware. Everything can be a blessing with the right kind of open-hearted spectacles.

This year, I want to dig deeper and acknowledge what I may relegate to the back of the closet or simply take for granted. So what it is that I am grateful for this Thanksgiving?

1. Trees

This gift from Mother Nature does it for me, each and every time. Trees can make me stop, pause, look, breathe in, and connect with nature. There is beauty, change, and, in a word, magnificence that speaks to something larger.

The strength, the rootedness, the resiliency of trees reminds me there is a bigger picture. My small concerns seem what they are…small and of a day-to-day variety. These stanchions of comfort and change keep me grounded and rooted. They tap into some wellspring of old Celtic memory about sanctuary. And, of course, there are times when I swear they talk to me.

2. Books

I love, love, love reading a book that shifts my inner axis and creates an interior world that can offer life lessons, powers of example, reminders of resiliency, comfort or a laugh-riot of silliness. I recently read that one of the best stress relievers is to read a book. I know this to be true.

Years ago, I had changed my residence over the Christmas holidays. Given the number of changes, I was feeling very upended about the whole thing. A friend had passed along a sweet book that turned out to be just the remedy I needed—comfort. Every night, I would climb into bed and reach for the book. At the time, it saved me. And later – even better – another friend was going through a massive change and I sent her the book and it did the same for her. How swell the power of the story, it can be so healing.

3. That I can feel

Those who know my work are familiar with my saying ,”You have to feel to heal.” And it’s true. Feelings are the pathway to understanding ourselves and making sense of our complexities, motivations, and desires. If we can make our way through the kaleidoscope of our feelings – including the murky not-so-fun ones, we will know ourselves better and find relief.

But, more than that, I am grateful that I can feel delight, have tears slip out of my eyes, get puffed up with righteous indignation, and laugh with abandon. I am grateful that I can be 100% present to my experiences and have the heart to feel. It’s a gift that enriches my life beyond measure. Life would be so boring without it. So come on feelings, the door of my heart is open and you are always welcome. You make me feel alive.

4. Shoes that fit

Ok, this sounds like the Thanksgiving list of someone light years older than yours truly, but this is my truth. I have funny Hobbit-style feet and finding shoes that offer support and a good fit is an odyssey unto itself.  Truly, my search for the proper shoe can be a Sisyphean endeavor. Throw in a bit of style and color and I have found my impossible dream.

5. Toast

It’s another constant that always tastes yummy and just makes me feel good. I am about to plug in the toaster. Anybody care to join me for some cinnamon toast or I have some great whole wheat challah bread that makes fab toast?

Happy Day of Thanks to one and all, wherever you are on this glorious  blue-green planet that bobbles in this multi-verse full of sweet mystery and promise. May you get in touch with that which brings you comfort, connection, and peace. And, hey, I am glad we share the planet. Thanks for being here.

Author's Bio: 

Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D.,  is a psychologist, disaster responder, and author of Balancing Act: Reflections, Meditation, and Coping Skills for Today’s Fast-Paced Whirl and the forthcoming Making Peace with Suicide: A Book of Hope, Understanding, and Comfort (2014). www.AdeleRyanMcDowell.com