Last week I went to seven stores to find my turkey. I'll admit that sounds a bit obsessive - and it was. My OCD was in fine form as I covered half the city trying to find just the right bird. They were all just too small - and we like turkey - and I like giving turkey away to all my guests. So finding the right turkey is a crucial component of my meal.
Mostly, it makes me really happy to see them heading off with reheat-able containers filled with turkey, stuffing, squash, turnip and apple, creamed peas, gravy and rolls for the next day. Oh, and the pies. Well, that's an event unto itself.
As I was driving around with glazed over eyes, I just kept thinking...."What would it be like if I had no one to cook for and no one around my table?"..."How lucky am I to have a family that really loves to eat and really loves what I serve."
This kept me sane amidst the chaos.
Gratitude seems to be the new buzz word. All you need to do is Google it and any number of scholarly articles and research studies pop up on the benefits of gratitude.
Among them, gratitude helps to:
- Lower your blood pressure
- Increase your immune system
- Reduce stress (hugely important given the number of illnesses linked to stress)
- Bring you higher joy and happiness
- Decreases feeling of isolation and loneliness
I can tell you from personal experience that raising children with challenges can make it really tough to feel grateful. When you spend your days running from doctor's appointment to school meetings to specialized sports outings (and trying to fit in that little thing called work) it can be physically and mentally exhausting - and feeling thankful?...well, it's a struggle.
However, here are a few of the thing I've learned over the years and when I feel overwhelmed, I sit still and take a quiet moment to think about them:
- I am grateful that I experience weird neurochemistry - that I have OCD and anxiety and that I had severe postpartum depression. I am grateful that I now know that these things are beyond a person's control. To feel like you have fallen into a black pit of despair while you are staring at a beautiful, perfect little baby makes no logical sense and it is not something that you can just shake off. This understanding make me a really good coach.
- I am grateful that my two older boys taught me the meaning of resiliency as they struggled to breathe and live while laying in their incubators in the neonatal unit. This image of the shear, unconscious will to live is one that will never leave me.
- I am grateful that my children teach me everyday to look at the world differently and challenge the status quo; that their minds buzz in so many different directions that I am challenged to keep up.
- I am grateful, today, that 12 people will soon be sitting around my table and enjoying the food that I have prepared over the last several days and the company and comfort of being around family.
So, what are you grateful for?
What is serving you today, even though it might feel like a challenge?
How can you use this gratitude to find some stillness and peace?
Why don't you take a moment today to find out ?
(P.S. as always, I don't charge extra for typo's - so enjoy!)
Judy Mouland has 20 plus years experience personally and professionally working with individuals with LD, ADHD, OCD and other co-conditions. She is the former C.E.O of the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada and now works as a Life Coach to empower people to live life on their own terms - no excuses.