In Antibes, France instead of Thanksgiving, I celebrated Gratitude Day with friends. It spoke more to the French, English and Scandinavians around my table.
“This is my favorite US holiday,” I said. “It’s not commercial like Christmas. It doesn’t require anything except finding things to be grateful for.”
We went around the table and named the things and people we appreciated. “I’m grateful for the Scottish salmon that gave its life for our delicious meal,” I said, inspired by the Inuit who thanked the animals that gave their lives to keep them fed and warm. “And the good company. And the sea.” My apartment with wide floor to ceiling windows framed the port and ramparts with the deep blue Mediterranean Sea beyond them. Nice and the mountains curled out in the distance. I felt grateful to be in tune with such beauty everyday – and still miss it.
The idea of gratitude day caught on and an English friend held her own version of it in May. Guided by thoughts of thankfulness and appreciation, guests focused on good things in life.
Back in the US, I’m reminded the uniqueness of this. Pilgrims, people on a spiritual search, arrived in a new world. Their survival depended on cooperation and community. If only we can make every new day one filled with gratitude and appreciation for the people and things around us, then our lives will be rich and filled with contentment. Keep a gratitude list as a personal reminder of the miracles and milestones along the way. It’s encouraging to look at in moments of crisis and despair. Happy Gratitude Day!
Copyright: Debra Moffitt, 2008. www.debramoffitt.com