Thanksgiving Week Lesson 1 – How To Embrace What You Already Have

Cafe Gratitude San Francisco

Can you feel the magic in the air?

It’s thanksgiving week and I can already feel a sense of anticipation and excitement in the air.

This week, as is the tradition in the USA and other countries around the world, people will celebrate with their families and loved ones.

Here in London, over the last few years, thanksgiving is being celebrated more and more. I feel it’s a truly wonderful way of getting reconnected to what really matters in our lives.

For the first time ever, I may even host my own thanksgiving dinner in my home – vegetarian of course:-)

To mark and celebrate this special time, I am writing a series of 5 articles this week, one article a day for the next 5 days.

Today I will start with gratitude.

As you spend time with your loved ones over the coming days, just what are you grateful for in your life?

Gratitude is all about appreciating the things you have in your life. Are you even aware of all the goodness around you?

The fact that you are breathing and reading these printed words is a marvel in itself. How often we take something for granted and then miss it as soon as it has gone. Many a time a loved one has left us, only for us to wish we had told them just how much they meant to us.

Gratitude is a way of reaching back to our natural state of happiness.

You get to notice what’s right instead of what’s wrong and begin to see every “problem” as an opportunity for growth and development. Is your glass half full or half empty?

I challenge you during this special week to begin to value all the goodness and beauty around you. This can be as majestic as a sunset or as simple as the feel of the clothes you wear.

Be thankful for a gift from a friend, a child’s smile, a stranger’s kindness, having got home safely today and simply to be alive.

Appreciate the weather too wherever you are. Here in the UK it seems to rain a lot and so many people dampen their moods due to this natural phenomenon. I simply suggest to them that they appreciate the rain – after all, it is the rainwater that sustains all the nature around us.

Some of the happiest people I know live with an attitude of gratitude.

Adopting such an approach is a life long commitment and here are my tips to get you started this thanksgiving week:-

1. Count your blessings and create your gratitude list

List the things in your life to be grateful for and which you take for granted, such as your health, home, family, friends, work colleagues, car, and so on. Add all the things that you could not survive without, such as sunlight, air, water and food.

See how many things you can come up with. Keep this list with you, and refer to it anytime you get upset. See how long you remain upset!

2. Do something kind randomly

Do something for someone for no reason other than simply wanting to do it. Have no attachment to the outcome. Pay for someone’s parking, or compliment a stranger.

Always remember my 31 ways of carrying out random acts of kindness.

3. Send a note of appreciation to your loved ones

Post a card of appreciation to someone whom you have not been in touch with for a while.

Go one step further and send cards to five people and tell them how much you appreciate them being in your life.

If you don’t do this during thanksgiving week, when will you?

4. Write a thank you note

Send a thank you note to someone who has done something for you, significant or not.

Get into a habit of sending such notes by post. Most mail nowadays is junk mail or bills.

Light up someone’s day. Create a trail of happiness behind you, as you go forward in your life.

With the advent of email and social media, people have almost forgotten the art of writing thank you notes. But this thanksgiving week, why don’t you reconnect with this traditional way of spreading goodness?

5. See the magic all around you

See things as if for the first time ever. For instance, imagine just how fascinating a dog would look like to a child when seen for the first time.

Slow down and notice the beauty around you. Literally stop and smell the roses.

Remember that you can always choose to live your life as if everything is a miracle.

6. Live in the present and accept where you are

Accept things as they are. No matter how much the situation has turned out differently to your expectations, it is the way it is.

You don’t know how much worse off you could have been, had things gone differently. Savour the current moment and be grateful for what is.

Count your blessings, not your negatives

Since we are so conditioned into noticing the negatives, we often overlook all the good in our life. Count your blessings and be thankful.

Go around thanking everyone

Say “thank you” as often as possible to all the people who make your life what it is. A smile and a simple thank you will do. This will have a magical effect on the person receiving your appreciation. They will feel that their efforts have been noticed and appreciated.

Play the game of living with an attitude of gratitude!

From today onwards, play a game and count the number of times you say “thank you” – this is where you get to thank the universe and all the people who make your life what it is.

Then increase this number tomorrow. The opportunities to genuinely thank people and the universe are endless.

For example, next time you are at a checkout desk, show your gratitude and appreciation to the cashier. He and his colleagues have probably been up since the crack of dawn to make it possible for you to have your daily groceries and for you to eat.

Acknowledge your postman. Do you even know his name? See how his face lights up when you show an interest in his life. Very few people know the name of the postman who may have been delivering their mail for years. Ask him his name and make his day!

If you work in an office, acknowledge and get to know the cleaning staff. If they didn’t clean up, you would soon know that it is not fun to work in a rubbish tip.

Thank the men who collect your domestic refuse every week.

All the people you acknowledge will be truly touched.

And best of all, you will feel great too.

From this thanksgiving week onwards, learn to always live with an attitude of gratitude.

Appreciating what you have and being thankful isn’t just for this week – make it a life long habit.


swan in Regents Park

Top image courtesy of Shayan (USA)

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  1. Maybe if the rest of the world starts to embrace the Thanksgiving holiday, we can make it less about pilgrims and more about grace and gratitude. And I’d love to know how you put a good vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner together, so I hope you make that one of your five posts!

    One thing I’m grateful for? Friends like you who help spread kindness and joy in the world. Hugs!

    • Jen, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the whole world was to indeed embrace the thanksgiving holiday!

      I am definitely going to spread the word via Facebook and twitter this week so more of my friends start celebrating this day.

      As for a good vegetarian thanksgiving dinner, I may just cook some Indian dishes.

      As my five posts for this week are already sketched out, I shall send you some of my recipes:-)

      • Jen, I have just had some ideas for my vegetarian thanksgiving dinner – I have the recipe book from “Cafe Gratitude” and I could try out some of the recipes from it.

  2. Katie Goode says

    Great reminder. Sometimes it seems that the holidays are more a burden than opportunity (rushing to get things done with horrendous store lines).

    I’m grateful for my family, friends, animals and to other people who celebrate with a vegetarian Thanksgiving!

    • Katie, I am guessing that store lines for thanksgiving in the USA must be the same as what we have here in the UK for Christmas.

      If so I agree that the holidays can be more of a burden than an opportunity.

      Good to know that there will be other people out there also having a vegetarian thanksgiving:-)

  3. Arvind,
    Thank you for this beautiful post. I love the photo of “Cafe Gratitude!”
    Living with an attitude of gratitude is the most wonderful way to live – your whole life becomes one big miracle after another!

    • Angela, yes indeed living with an attitude of gratitude is the most wonderful way to live. As you are proving to me, your whole life becomes one big miracle after another.

      As for that image of “Cafe Gratitude”, it’s actually from a cafe with than name in San Francisco:-

      It’s on my list of places to visit soon – join me there:-)

  4. Very nice write up on appreciating what we’ve got, while we’ve got it.

    > Do something kind randomly
    I make this a regular habit.

  5. Alex Blackwell says

    Thank you for this Arvind.

    I am grateful for: Second chances, my family, kindness, love and life.


    • Alex, you are most welcome.

      Good to be grateful for second chances – gives us a chance to learn and make up for our previous mishaps:-)

      And thanks for your help with installing the Facebook button now sitting proudly at the bottom of this article.

  6. Arvind,

    What a beautiful theme for this week! I love these helpful ways to spark gratitude. I especially like the idea of seeing the magic around you. I’ve really been tuning in more to how everything is truly a miracle when you pause to see it. I’m grateful for so many thing, but I’m especially grateful today for my amazing blogging community – filled with joy spirits like yourself who spread love and kindness throughout the world.

    • Sandra, thanks for your kind words and for including me amongst your blogging community.

      There is so much magic all around us, if only we open our eyes to it.

      And it really doesn’t take much to spark gratitude in us and also amonst the people around us.

      Happy thanksgiving week, Sandra:-)

  7. Hi Arvind,
    I’m in magic mode this month 🙂 The theme for this months raoka{random acts of kick arse} is WONDER for which we(crusaders) will be posting observations 1st of December….so you can imagine….Wonder garnished with gratitude for every little divine blessing makes for truly magical living. WOW!
    I love all the 6 ways you have suggesting to infuse gratitude. Thank you for this beautiful series.
    So Much love & Gratitude,

    • Zeenat, thanks for sharing your magical world of raoka.

      I love it – just visualising “wonder garnished with gratitude” makes me go into a higher state!

      Rest assured that I will be raokaing with you and the other crusaders from Dec 1st:-)

      Even more love and gratitude back to you.

  8. p.s. I just noticed the new header! Oh awesome very HOT and happening…it feels ALIVE!! Love it!

  9. John Sherry says

    Arvind, firstly I am grateful for blogs like yours shared honestly from the heart. I am truly grateful for those who love me and are great friends (like yourself) as they continue to open themselves to caring, supporting and encouraging me. They are the wind beneath my wings and I couldn’t do it without them.

    One little story too. Last year I sent Xmas cards to my best friends in July. I wanted them to know what I felt about them was an all year round love and that they mattered every single day not just an annual Christmas day. THEY are my permanent life gifts. Be blessed and with gratitude for your caring and sharing always Arvind.

    • Thanks John!

      What a wonderful gesture to send your friends Xmas cards in July. I love the example you are setting for the rest of us.

      Wishing you all the best for Xmas in Dec and also next July:-)

  10. Arvind,
    I’m thankful for all of the love I have and a friend like you! I love counting and increasing the number of times I can say “Thank You.”

    What time is dinner?

  11. Oh, my goodness! I’m grateful for SO much in my life! One of my favorite quotes is from Melody Beattie, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more.”

    Ever since I worked in a remote region of Mexico with Doctors Without Borders I have been profoundly grateful for safe drinking water, public education and quality health care.

    Right this moment I’m grateful for my husband who is making dinner and my 5 year-old child who is singing a song and petting our dog. Bliss!

    Thanks so much for this thoughtful and gratitude-inspiring post!! Take wonderful care, s

    • Stacey, what a wonderful quote!

      “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more.”

      I just shared this on Twitter:-)

      It’s so true – visiting other parts of the world certainly makes us realise just how much we already have in the West – especially what we consider basic utilities such as safe drinking water etc.

      Happy thanksgiving, Stacey:-)

  12. Andrea DeBell - britetalk says

    Hi Arvind! This is a great post to get the Thanksgiving week started. I love #6: Live in the present and accept where you are. There is nothing more refreshing than accepting the present exactly as it is without wanting to change a thing. Let me know if you’d like a vegetarian recipe for your Thanksgiving dinner.
    Loving blessings, sweet friend!

    • Hi Andrea!

      Hope your thanksgiving week is going well, with you living in the present and accepting where you are:-)

      And yes please do send me your recipe for a vegetarian thanksgiving dinner.

      Love and blessings!

  13. Claire - Gratitude Connection says

    What a lovely post. I seem to be reading posts about gratitude everywhere today, it’s wonderful! I love that you talked about spreading gratitude by sending notes and saying thank you to others. Making the conscious choice to feel grateful for what you already have is one thing, but choosing to share that amazing feeling with others truly makes gratitude the gift that keeps giving. I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving celebrations 🙂

    • Thanks Claire – it certainly seems that gratitude is in the air!

      Choosing to share our gratitude and thereby spreading it ensures that our many gifts continue to be shared.

      Wishing you too all the best for thanksgiving:-)

  14. Love the suggestion to say thank you. I am going to see how many people I can say thank you to this week.

    Jen’s comment about the pilgrims reminded me of my first Thanksgiving when I lived in Bangkok. Of course it wasn’t a holiday there, so I took the afternoon off from work to have Thanksgiving dinner with my friends. I was the only American in my office, so before I left I made what I thought was a very clever comment to some colleagues. “Even though this is an American holiday, we can all pause and think about all the things we have to be thankful for. For example, you can be thankful the pilgrims didn’t land in Thailand!” My colleagues laughed and I was congratulating myself on my cross-cultural humor, when several asked at once, “What’s a pilgrim?”

    So wherever we are in the world this week, I hope we can all celebrate a day devoted to giving thanks! Thank you for a great post about several ways to focus on all our blessings.

    • Galen, I bet you get say “thank you” many times this week – much more than you might have initially expected!

      And then next week, see if you can surpass the number for this week.

      Thanks for sharing your story about the pilgrims who never landed in Thailand – very funny!

      Happy thanksgiving – regardless of whether the pilgrims landed in your country or not:-)

  15. Well, Arvind, I hope you know I’m very grateful to have found you to guide me through the upgrading of my site. It’s amazing how most people are happy to help another out if they can.
    I’m also grateful for the whole new vista that opened for me when I joined the blogging world.
    I shall be reading with interest!

  16. Thanks for such a great post Arvind, for spreading your great attitude. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it helps me to remember to be extra thankful.

    I heard a sad report on the radio today of a woman who is already camping out at Best Buy today, three days before Black Friday. She said she’d made it her goal to be first in the store. I felt sad to hear her story. What would make someone think that is a worthy goal?

    • Thanks Alison – I am always happy to share about developing an attitude of gratitude:-)

      As for people focussing on the commercial aspects of Thanksgiving Day, it is an indictement of the times we live in. With all that goodness in our lives, why do we need to embellish it with extra gadgets?!

      Happy thanksgiving, Alison!

  17. Hi Arvind,
    I can feel the magic! I love it:)
    And I love Cafe Gratitude..and will join you if you truly go visit..
    My heart overflows with gratitude each and every day..from sun rise until the moonbeams cascade down the mast to lull me to sleep….Life is truly beauty filled and amazing when I open my heart to it…

    • Joy, the magic is definitely in the air – I can feel it too.

      You are a walking, talking and shining example of what a grateful being can be like, liviing a life of beauty and bliss.

      Thanks for being such a role model for the rest of us.

      And yes, let’s do Cafe Gratitude one day soon!

      Happy thanksgiving!

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