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"Thanksgiving involves an act of the will. It's not a question of pretending that everything is bright and beautiful when you know it's not. To give thanks is to stand up in the face of the storm and declare that life is worth living." -Charles Henderson

If you live in the US, you're already gearing up for Thanksgiving Thursday. (If it isn't Thanksgiving where you live, I hope this post will start you thinking about your December holiday.)

Are you wondering how to go beyond mere gluttony to add some meaning and gratitude?  I'm the first to trumpet the benefit to our kids -- and ourselves -- of rituals, and of learning the habit of gratitude.  And you'll find plenty of ideas on the Aha! Parenting website to add meaning to your family's Thanksgiving.  READ POST

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 | Permalink

“Sometimes life is so hard. I just wish I could be in a better mood, so I could be nicer to my kids!" - Karen

"We're not grateful because we're happy. We're happy because we're grateful.” - Brother David Stendl-Rast

Life can be hard. And being a parent can be one of the hardest things we do.  It's not surprising that we find ourselves in a bad mood sometimes.  READ POST

Thursday, November 20, 2014 | Permalink
“Practice being grateful for what you have, rather than focusing on what's missing. Look at what's working in your life rather than what's not working. Practice being grateful for the small, wonderful things that happen to you every day, and this will automatically shift your attention from problems to joy, from stress to inner peace.” -- Jan Marie Dorr  READ POST
Thursday, July 15, 2010 | Permalink

"You are a great wizard. You can use your powers to practice white magic on yourself instead of the other kind. The most basic way to do that is to concentrate on naming, savoring, and feeling gratitude for the blessings you do have -- your love for your kid, the pleasures of eating the food you like, the sight of the sky at dusk, the entertaining drama of your unique fate. Don't ignore the bad stuff, but make a point of celebrating the beautiful stuff with all the exuberant devotion you can muster."-- Rob Brezsny

Every wisdom tradition has a practice of gratitude. We offer thanks not only for some presumed spiritual or ethical benefit, but because it works.

The heartfelt expression of gratitude lifts us out of the mind’s usual restless feeling of “not enough” into the joy of sufficiency.  We open ourselves to take in the blessings that surround us.

Let's do an experiment, right now.  Put your hand on your heart. Name 5 things for which you're grateful. Feel that gratitude. Immerse yourself in it.

Actually do this, right now.  It takes one minute. At least 5 things.

What do you notice after doing this practice?

Now, name 5 things about your child for which you're grateful.

See how this could turn your whole life around?

As Meister Eckhart said, "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 | Permalink

"Gratitude is noticing the extraordinary in the ordinary. And then taking the nanosecond to feel it." -- Karen Krakower Kaplan

Happy Tuesday!  Want to rock your life?  Do these 3 simple things every day this week:

1. Do something from your Joy list to nurture yourself,
so your cup is full enough to overflow with joy toward your child. Don't have a list of the things you can do to help you feel joyful?  Make one, right now! Put it up and keep adding to it every day.

2. Spend fifteen minutes in private, unstructured, loving interaction with each child
, preferably including lots of listening and snuggling. Can't get your kid to engage? Try physical games, the kind you would play with a baby -- kiss each toe, give a massage. Resist the urge to tickle, teach or engage with any kind of technology.  Just be -- and let love rush in.

3. Find something to be grateful for every minute.  Gratitude transforms our mood, attitude, actions, how we perceive our world.  If all you do is offer appreciation all day long -- to your child, your spouse, yourself, Life -- you'll find your whole day transformed.

May your week be filled with miracles, large and small.   READ POST

Wednesday, February 03, 2010 | Permalink