“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” William Arthur Ward
Today, November 1, marks the beginning of a new season. The mercury, in much of the country, has taken a sudden dip and temperatures are reflective of the time of year. Subconsciously, and consciously, the turn of the calendar page brings us to the beginning of the “holiday season.” Suddenly, stores are filled with festive gift items, celebrations are being planned, travel reservations being made … and thus begins the madness that has become associated with the holiday season.
But let’s take a moment, or more, to examine this “season of giving.” From today until the last day of 2017 the next 61 days will be filled with many opportunities. This is the challenge that we all face…the challenge to take advantage of these opportunities. For me the biggest challenge of the season is to embrace gratitude – not merely find it and act upon it, but to truly embrace it. As Thanksgiving approaches I find myself feeling coiled tighter and tighter as though I am a spring. As days grow shorter and the darkness envelops us, embracing gratitude may seem like a lofty goal. Despite our best efforts the normal rush of the day-to-day becomes compounded with the increasing pressure to “be prepared…” for celebrations, with gifts and food, for extra activities, for travel. And as the pace of life reaches a breakneck speed we find ourselves immersed in a mass of worn-out, impatient, frustrated humanity.
So this year, I say, “challenge accepted.” The challenge to embrace gratitude will start with a daily mantra, “Today I am grateful for…” In the face of this year’s natural disasters and human atrocities, I am grateful for life. I am grateful for family. I am grateful for health. I am grateful for mental health. I am grateful for a roof over my head. I am grateful for food on my table. I am grateful for access to healthcare. I am grateful for employment. I am grateful for access to clean water. I am grateful for access to education. I am grateful for freedom. I am grateful for all of the perfect imperfections in my life. I have learned “perfect” is a state of mind and that the definition is often situational. I am grateful for the challenges that fill my perfectly-imperfect life as they help me to evolve and become “better.”
Life is filled with challenges so I have chosen to apply my husband’s 2016 new year’s resolution to help me face my challenges. “Always Assume Good Intent.” (~J.B.) Said another way: approach each conflict, disagreement, long supermarket line, comment, parking lot, customer service call, traffic, or communication with the assumption that the interaction is occurring under the auspices of “good intent” …or at least without malice. By doing so, we open the door for communication, growth, understanding and ultimately, gratitude.
This month, as we enter the “season of giving” we ask NAPO members: What is your source of gratitude? What are you grateful for? Professionally? Personally? What does gratitude do for you? What does it do for your clients? How does gratitude affect your relationships? And what do you learn as a result of being grateful? Or by experiencing the gratitude of another? Share your stories of gratitude with Team NAPO and submit a blog for consideration today.
blog submitted by Kahra Buss, Membership Communications Manager, NAPO HQ
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