A Guide to Gratitude

by | Nov 23, 2020 | Nurturing Your Practice

Having a greatful heart is important in all times, but especially in times of turmoil. Here in the United States, we are preparing our hearts, minds, and tables for Thanksgiving Day. A holiday that, in recent times, has come under scrutiny for its disregard of the indigenous people that suffered as a result of what we give thanks for. Heavy, right? As we work to break down and rectify the systems of oppression in the United States, we must, even on Turkey day, acknowledge our dark past in order to move towards light. When we can meet each other with a grateful heart we can begin to heal our ancestral trauma. 

How do we do that? 

  • Education – Education is key here. And not the education we got in school, unfortunately. Grab a book about the indigenous people of your area from your local library. Seek “the other side of the story.” Additionally:
    • With an open mind and a loving heart, type “Thanksgiving + Indigenous Americans” into Google. Take about an hour (or more) to browse through the information. 
    • If you’d like to link directly to Native American resources, the University of New Mexico has an extensive list of Native American websites, arranged by category.
  • Change – It starts with you. In your heart and in your household. What can you do this Thanksgiving (and every day) that acknowledges our true history? For some, it’s about making a traditional indigenous dish, others choose to recite Native American prayers, and many celebrate Native American Heritage Month instead. 
  • Gratitude – It’s what the day is all about! Give thanks for the food on the table, the family that has gathered, the comfortable weather, the birds singing in the sky, your good health, and the abundance that supplied your feast.
    • Gratitude is a powerful emotion. It can change our mood, our lives, and the people around us.
    • Operating from gratitude aligns us with the abundance of the universe.
    • Expressing gratitude places value on the people, places, and things in our life.


Cultivating A Grateful Heart: A Guide to Gratitude

  • Say thank you. In your mind to yourself or out loud to someone else. Simply saying these words is an excellent way to instantly get into gratitude mode!
  • Meditate. Try this! In a comfortable seated position, close your eyes and think of one thing you are grateful for. Anything… whatever it is. We are looking for the feeling, not the object of the feeling. Hold that image in your mind while you tap into the feeling of gratitude. You may feel it in your stomach, or chest – a warm swelling, a gentle expanding. Now just sit there for as long as you can, feeling that feeling. When you’re done, give thanks.
  • Express gratitude. How do you show someone you’re grateful? Well, we’ve covered “thank you” already, and that’s a good one! You can also share a hug, offer assistance, spend quality time, give gifts, or return the favor. 
  • Think of experiences as gifts. If everything is a gift, wouldn’t you be grateful all the time? When you’re in the grocery store picking up those last minute items for your Thanksgiving feast, think of how amazing it is to have a store near your home that’s open when you need it, that supplies jobs to your community, and houses the nourishment that you need for your body. What a gift! What a wonderful thing to be grateful for!

However you choose to spend your day, we hope that it brings you joy and many more things to be grateful for.

MVP students have been participating in 30 Days of Gratitude with the #expressgratitudemvp challenge on Instagram. Click the link to see how they express gratitude every day!

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