By Maha Chaudhry

The purest form of love, gratitude, and acceptance is what makes a heart so full. This month we are reminded to give thanks to the very things that take place on the daily and in between our busy schedules. It’s things like the warm cup of joy we call coffee, that awakens so much within us and prompts the start of our day. It’s a hug from a loved one and the way their embrace fills us whole. And then there are the delicious meals we share with those we care for immensely – they nourish our bodies and our soul. These are the simple pleasures of life that can be so easily overlooked. The nice thing is that it only takes but a few minutes to recall their significance in our lives, and when we do, what we have suddenly becomes enough. 

As we approach the near-end of 2022, it is an ideal time to reflect on the year at a glance, as well as the time we have left to prepare ourselves for the year ahead. I hope that we can collectively let go of what no longer serves us, and take with us what brings us peace. I know it has been challenging in many ways, and the truth is that challenging days cannot always be avoided. Yet, there is a comforting notion in that though we cannot always control our circumstances, we can absolutely change the way we react to them. It is then we see patterns, behaviors and situations change, break and conform for the better. Here are some ways to practice gratitude looking back, in the now, and ahead.

When looking back: You experienced highs and lows, some that took you on quite the ride. Look back with grace in knowing you did the best you could considering what you knew then. Thank the opportunities that led you to where you are today, for better or worse, you learned, grew, and landed where you needed to be. The people who came into your life did so with purpose. Some only came to make an appearance and some have since remained, nonetheless, they were added to your path for good reason. 

When looking in front: In front of you is the now, and the now is the only place we really need to be focused on being. But it can be the most challenging place to find ourselves with all the distractions, deadlines, must do’s and must have’s around us. But while being so focused on the future and so fixated on the past, we can miss the precious moments that are now. Practice being present. Next time you sit with your cup of coffee or tea, try tuning out all the distractions around you. Give yourself a few minutes just to enjoy each sip and take in the sensations you feel in that moment. You can practice this in other ways too, but the key is to make a conscious decision to eliminate irrelevant thoughts that are taking away from the given moment and allowing yourself to revisit them later. This is your time for solitude, your “me” time and during this time you are allowed to just be.

When looking ahead: Look ahead with optimistic lens. What hasn’t been done yet still stands a chance. Contrary to what you may have been encouraged to believe, it isn’t too late to start making the big moves whether it’s in business, love or whatever else your heart desires. Nothing happens before its time, so when looking ahead, look to it with fresh perspective. The choice to carry the old burdens is yours, the choice to bring on the new is also yours. Thank the possibilities around you – some of your best moments are yet to come. 

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to gratitude. You can alter it in any way that brings you comfort. Some people prefer to journal while others like to speak it into truth. The magic is in the practice.

Here’s to the beautiful month of Sweet November. May it be full of everything we have to be thankful for, and to all the wonderful things that remain ahead.