In honor of Thanksgiving I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past year. This past year has brought all of us at Think Tank so much to be grateful for. Wonderful clients, a growing company, fabulous coworkers, amazing friends and so much more.
This past year I have pushed myself and my employees to adopt what I call an “attitude of gratitude”. This attitude was taught to me through my own personal yoga practice and journey of discovery. And, what I have learned is that when one approaches life with gratitude your life begins to transform.
An attitude of gratitude has completely changed my life. Truly, it has evolved at lightning speed.
Each morning I start the day verbally articulating what I am thankful for. As the day progresses I am cognizant of continually saying “thank you”. Thank you for the beautiful sunshine that warms my skin. Thank you for the warmth of my home. Thank you for hard working employees who are passionate about our clients. Thank you for the difficult people in my life who teach me patience and tolerance. Thank you for the bad days, the tough times as they show me how sweet the good ones are.
Yes, I have adopted an attitude of gratitude for all things bestowed upon me – both good and bad.
A wise yoga instructor once told me that being grateful for all things that the Universe sends you would teach me inner peace and bring me happiness. I thought she was completely looney at the time (and likely some left over hippie from the 60s), but I thought I’d give it a try. I mean, what the hell, what did I have to lose?
I decided to mindfully practice this attitude of gratitude and I watched my life transform. Suddenly my life was filled with like-minded people and loads of new friends. I started to approach things differently in my life. Clients who weren’t a good fit for us left and were replaced with larger clients who held the same belief system as our company appeared. My days were filled with happiness and contentment. I felt comfortable in my own skin and saw the changes in my staff as well.
It actually changed everything.
Today myself, my son, and our Creative Director Kevin Zimarik all went and put our attitude of gratitude into motion by serving the poor at a soup kitchen in St. Louis for Thanksgiving Day. We didn’t know exactly what to expect but we knew we felt the calling to give back to the community in place of stuffing ourselves with turkey (or hummus in this vegetarian’s case) and sitting around watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
What an amazing experience we had today.
We prepared Thanksgiving Dinner as well as bagged lunches for over 400 people in the St. Louis area. After we got all of the turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, collard greens, green beans, salad, potato salad, cranberries, macaroni and cheese, rolls and desserts all made and prepared we served each of these people who needed food. Working that line and plating the food actually changed my life.
While I was prepared to see things most people turn their faces from (no one wants to acknowledge the homeless it seems) I wasn’t prepared for the attitudes I encountered. Sure, many of these people were either homeless or destitute but they didn’t act like it. Instead, most of them smiled at me, looked at me directly, and made small talk with me. They shared Thanksgiving stories of eating with their families, they told me why they preferred one food over another, they waited patiently in long lines, and they all smiled at me, called me ma’am, and told me time and time again how grateful they were for my family and I to make serving them our Thanksgiving Day celebration.
Some of the things that touched me the most were a young teenage boy who decided to forego all of the “fixin’s” of Thanksgiving to have a heaping plate of turkey. “No ma’am, please, all I want is turkey. And a lot of it.” There was a young pregnant woman who just wanted macaroni and cheese in the worst way. It had been so long since she’d had something so warm and comforting and it was clearly a gift to her.
Another man came through the line and told me I had the most gorgeous smile he’d ever seen and that me looking at him and smiling made his Thanksgiving Day. On his way out he stopped me and told me what a good mom I was because my son was such a wonderful boy and so polite to everyone. It touched my heart.
I watched as my 10 year-old son served these people without any judgment or reservation. I watched him happily make peanut butter sandwiches to place in the lunch bags we created for these people to take “to go” after their Thanksgiving meal. I watched him happily play bingo with those waiting to eat in the crowd. I watched him take their trays when they were done and place them in the kitchen. I watched him treat each person with kindness and respect and I was filled with an attitude of gratitude.
I was grateful to these people – the ones I thought I was helping – for helping me. They showed me that an attitude of gratitude isn’t just for some girl who runs a marketing company and is trying to make the world a better place. It is for those who have fallen on bad luck, too. An attitude of gratitude is for the saint, the sinner, the parent, the child, the addict, the mentally ill, the executive, the stay-at-home mom, the laborer, the entire world.
Trust me, adopting an attitude of gratitude can change anyone’s life. On this Thanksgiving Day I challenge you to go forward and adopt an attitude of gratitude. Be grateful for all that happens in your life, both good and bad. Be conscious of saying thank you and lifting that thanks to the Universe for all it has given you each and every day. Get out of your routine and make yourself a service to others. Give back, smile more, bestow kindness to strangers, bestow kindness to yourself. And, watch your life transform before your eyes.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, my friends.