Practicing gratitude

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As every year, on the fourth Thursday of November, in a huge part of Western culture, and mostly in the United States of America, people celebrated Thanksgiving.
Although I don’t belong to the American culture, so different from mine, I have been feeling very close to that ceremony and to the profound meaning it has for millions of people around the world.
So, since last year, I have been inspired by Thanksgiving for reflecting on some particular cues of our family life and of the way we choose to live it.

What I mostly appreciate about Thanksgiving, is the mindful celebration of the abundance we have been conceded by, everyday and of the several blessings we can count, especially the ones coming from remarkable human relationships.
Thanksgiving , isn’t just about a dinner, an yearly get-together around the family table, laid with all kind of delicious foods. Actually, Thanksgiving is a way of living.

Indeed, pursuing Gratitude, is not a gift, or something related to a particular good nature behavior. But it’s a skill, everyone of us can practice, train and cultivate, everyday.
I really want my children to master it. In fact, it’s been said it is one of the most important aspects for building up happy lives.

I think there is no better moment than the Holiday season to help my children focusing on spiritual aspects. This path allows them to take the right distance form what can be called the abundance syndrome, that particular state of mind where the more you own, the more you want to get. Also, taking advantage of spiritual practices, helps children taking out pressure from media saturation, that, particularly during the Holiday season, wants to induct children in the need of owing useless and expensive items.

Last year, we made a small project about Gratitude. Every evening, right after dinner, everyone of us wrote a note on a card about the most significant thing to have been grateful of during the day and put it in a bowl placed on the family table. On Christmas morning, we read aloud together all the cards and thought about the huge amount of blessings we could count of, just in a month.
It was a simple and fun way to help children mastering the practice of gratitude. What I have noticed so far, is the fact children progressively and only led by their own instinct, expressed more gratitude towards get-togethers, emotional expectations or human relationships, than towards material items.

Additionally, it moved me so much looking at them as they showed up thankfulness to aspects they before used to perceive entitled, such food on the table, daily hot showers, dinners at family table, or a great afternoon spent at granny’s, just for noticing few.

Psychologists refer to this aspect as Economy of Gratitude, highlighting the skill of gratitude helps children and adults to feel happier and also stocks up such a huge added value as becoming an economy of proficts, where human energies are the main result.

This year, we have been thinking about some gratitude projects, as well.
One, is more directly related to preparing our hearts to Holy Christmas. But I will tell you about it, very soon.
The other is more about my own personal path through faith.

However, even if you are not Christian, you can perceive great value from practicing gratitude through several projects that involves you as a family and help it growing.

For instance, as parents, considering the fact our older children are now 6 and 8, we have been gradually involving them on focusing on aspects of our everyday life related to suffering: as children living in scarcity or orphans, children who are born in war lands, little babies in hospitals and so on, trying to answer the better we can to their specific questions about them.

These issues must be taken straightly, only if they are paired with mindfulness about our own privileged state of living.
Letting children mindfully practicing altruism, compassion and empathy in alleviating others’ sufferings, not only helps people in need, but also allows children to find a peaceful place in their soul, knowing every little crumb can comfort and lift someone who suffers.
And, what’s more, it helps children to face several inadequacies and injustices of our world, letting them mindful about the fact they can really make the difference, even if they are only 6 and 8 years old, and being part of a human movement of compassion and fraternity.

As a family we are slowly approaching to enjoy the Christmas season. Trying to savour every moment together and hoping to transform the waiting in a mindful path towards the Birth.
Do you want to join us?

Here is, just for cheering on you, a wonderful video about the inner meaning of Gratitude.

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Horizons

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As someone rightly pointed out, September is the true New Year .
Moment in which, even more than earlier this year, we focus on the good intentions of new projects on different attitudes.

September for us in the family, is particularly rich in changes : a son who will make the jump to the elementary school, another who will begin the third class, the dreaded third, in which, it is said , he began to study seriously, with a lot of lessons to be repeated!
For another September will be the month in which definitively abandon the stage of infant and starts getting more of the daily rhythms from their rhythmic inclinations and taste of the game, and last but not least, the routine of school older brothers.

It ‘also the month of my (partial for now) return to work: an important time of growth for all of us, in which I put to the test again and experiment on what terms is possible to reconcile the different areas and the different roles of my personal and family life.

After the birth of baby in February, actually this is the first time when everyone in the family, rushes towards new challenges to conquer new balance outside of our family .

Nothing can guarantee that the result will be entirely positive. None of us can be sure that their forecasts of mind, their rational calculations, that their expectations illusory, have any hope of matching with the reality of the facts. And that each of us is actually ready for the leap that awaits him.

I’ll be fine in the new school? Will I be able to learn many new things? Will I be able to still be a good mother? We made the right decision for our family? We will nevertheless a happy family

These are the questions that haunt these days in our souls as we speak, and quarrel, while we watch each other without being noticed.

To these questions we did not answer yet. We are on the edge and wait for the time to jump.
But one thing is certain: that there will never be a right time for this, a time when we will be better prepared, in which we will be more sure of ourselves or we will be ready.

Sometimes you have to take off and let it teach us how to open your wings and learn to fly.

And maybe understand that those obstacles that seemed insurmountable are then overcome and feasible, and instead discover that what we thought was rather exciting and challenging for anything in line with their values and their dreams.

What is certain is that much of what we have experienced until now, in this summer ‘long, full, adventurous, exciting, and in other ways extremely difficult and tiring, soon will be completely different.

Why change is the only real constant in our lives and to oppose it or fear it, not serves to distort our true essence and impoverishing the sense of our passage in this life.

“… Because I do not hope, I have faith.” writes a great poet of our times.

Then choose to store again at the top of my questions and those of my loved ones. I choose to rely on the infinite knowledge our little snarls soul and look confident that the reality of the facts illuminate the horizon that is already looming before us.

Distances

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In these silent places, there is time and opportunity to be able to find your own voice, speak often left alone, muffled by the noise too of everyday life.

In these places, then, each of us in the family, finds a way to reconnect with themselves and with their real needs, deep.

Not always, this means for all of us automatically in a feeling of well-being.
For some of us, in fact, this process can be characterized as a time of distress, in which the inner voice can be heard screaming in anger and arrogance, showing all those who are near their dissent and its distance.

On the other hand the voice communicates with repetitive signals and obsessive, a clear will to alienate, to be somewhere else, away from others but also from themselves, however always distant.

C ‘is those who, tired of observing and responding to the needs of others, still feels heavier the burden of responsibility, and demands for at least some time to focus on your inner voice alone without interference and quietly listen and give space to recharge.

There are some who feel like every time he returns to breathe this clear, that the sense of urgency is to sit at the feet and observe.

In this limbo of peace and quiet, feels that the confusion of signs, symptoms, emotions more than ever lately has not been able to unravel, now have some possibility of being able to at least be considered.

Or that this distance, made up of all the distances that each of us puts another in our family for some time now, we can have at least a clear and sharp awareness.

Even without the pretense, at least for the moment, to change the situation.

But with the strong confidence to place their hope in inner landscapes taller, wider and wider.
And immensely merciful.

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