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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