November: Practice Living With Gratitude

The Fall season is a time of intense change and shifting energies. It is all about looking inward, enjoying the bounty of the season, and preparing for a long Winter ahead. This October was one full of growth, good friends, celebration, and self discovery. I find myself surrounded with loving, compassionate people, good food, countless blessings, and warm cozy nights. As I sit here tonight with a glass of hot chocolate, potato chowder in the Crockpot, and soft flute music playing, I am sinking deep into November and what it truly means to be grateful; to not only be thankful for all that we have, but to truly embody and live a gracious and meaningful life.

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When you stop and think about all the turmoil and chaos that the world experiences each and every day, it is easy to get discouraged. Death, famine, and disease riddle the earth. Animals are suffering, the planet is in critical condition, and hate and war divide us. Many of us struggle to pay our bills, fulfill our dreams, and make time for the things we enjoy. With all the negativity that can surround every day life, it is miraculous to look around and see all that you have been given and all the love that still manages to surround you even in a world that can be unkind. There is beauty in every moment and promise in every day. When you wake up in the morning, consider all that you have and all that you are grateful for. Then, use that to spread love and compassion to others even in hard times. We are all on unique journeys, and we all desire support and friendship. What better way to practice gratitude than to be a blessing to others? Autumn is the perfect time to draw close to family and friends and appreciate one another.

Eat Seasonally and Cook Yummy Foods

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Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving? Gathering with all the people you love for the best meal of the year is something we all cherish and look forward too. This time is all about reaping the benefits of hard work and of the year’s harvest. Some of the best and most nutritious fruits and veggies are in season, and there is nothing better than giving thanks to the earth for them and cooking delicious meals all month long. (and always!)

Eating seasonally is better for the environment, often grown locally, and cheaper. Plus, it’s fun to try different things throughout the year and cycle through all your favorite recipes. If you shop your local grocery store right now, you will probably find many varieties of apples are currently available. This is the perfect time to eat fresh apples and pears or bake a delicious desert with them. Pomegranates, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, cranberries, turnips, and of course squash are all in peak season right now. It can be especially fun and rewarding to cook a homemade meal with seasonal produce and thank the earth for providing for us. Here is one of my favorite easy recipes for butternut squash!

Be Present in the Moment

One of the most important things we can do to practice gratitude is to live in the moment and appreciate what it means just to be alive! It is easy to get caught up in anxiety, worry, and what may or may not happen in the future. In this day and age we are asked to focus on many things at once and often plan ahead. Our schedules are packed full and we have little time to catch our breath and immerse ourselves in the moment we are living in. Take time this month to really work on staying present and living each second as it comes. Life is fragile, short, and meant to be enjoyed! Notice the air filling your lungs, the sights and smells around you, and the breeze on your skin. These are things we can take for granted. The more we train our brain to live this way, the more we will find ourselves content in our day to day lives, exuding gratitude and grace.

Donate and Be Giving

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Part of being gracious and thankful is giving back to others and helping those who may not be as fortunate. It is especially important during this time of year to help others who are in need. There are probably many food drives going on around your community. It is also helpful to donate clothes and toys during the cold holiday months. Even if you cannot afford to give much, something small can make the difference in someone’s day or life. What would happen if each and every one of us donated a clothing or food item during the giving season? It could create a ripple affect that makes everyone feel thankful and loved.

Journal About What You’re Thankful For

This one may be a little cliche, but it is truly so beneficial to keep a journal. It’s a healthy and constructive way to release your emotions and communicate with your inner self. Writing down your thoughts and feelings and reflecting on your day is excellent for practicing self love and mindfulness. Journaling may help you notice your thought patterns and habits as well as help lower anxiety and stress. It can also be a very intimate and personal way to express gratitude.

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Take a conscious moment to make a list of all that you are grateful for. As I said, it may seem a little cliche, but really taking the time to think deeply about all that you are blessed with each day is like exercise for your heart and soul. When you’re feeling discouraged, looking back at this list in your journal and reminding yourself of all the good in your life can be the medicine you needed. Consider including something positive that happened during your day in all your journal entries so that you can look back at all the wonderful things that made you smile later on.

A journal can be whatever you want it to be. If you like to be creative, you can personalize or even make a beautiful journal. You could type it up on your computer if you prefer or use a simple notebook. Whatever makes you happy and encourages you to write.

Immerse Yourself in Nature

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Fall is truly a gorgeous and tranquil season. There is a peace that comes with watching the leaves turn to beautiful shades of orange and gold. The beauty that nature gifts us during this time of year is breathtaking. The crispness of the air and the mysterious, restful energy that Autumn brings is soothing and rejuvenating. The last warm days are fading and it is the perfect time to cozy up with a hot drink and take a walk through nature. By respecting and grounding to the earth, we are practicing gratitude for our very life force and the universe that created us.

This is my very favorite time of year. I always feel tremendously empowered and strengthened during this time. There is a calming and reflective feeling in the air and I appreciate the lessons and joy that life has brought me throughout the months. Staring this blog and sharing my thoughts with you has been one of the best parts of my year and for that I am grateful!

As Thanksgiving approaches, I hope you are filled with love and gratitude for yourself and all that life has given you. There is so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to.

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Did you know that an estimated 46 million turkeys are slaughtered for Thanksgiving each year? Consider enjoying a plant based feast and keep innocent animals off of your table.

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