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Think about the word gratitude for a moment. Let it roll around on your tongue. Is it sweet and well-received? Or, is it overdone? As we approach Thanksgiving, there are gratitude references everywhere. Even in my yoga class this morning, the instructor offered gratitude as an intention for our practice. I’m a big believer in the gratitude/happiness connection, but I found myself pushing away that intention with a little bit of hostility.

I’ve been studying gratitude since September, but as we actually head into Thanksgiving, I find my practice of posting in my gratitude app just one more thing that I have to remember to do. My daughter asked several times this morning to invite friends over for Thanksgiving dinner but with no menu prepared and clean laundry still sitting in the basket from well before my husband began his TDY last week, I don’t feel like I’m in a great position to extend an invitation. I’m feeling downright Grinchy.

At the end of the gratitude-intentioned yoga class, the teacher read a passage that I’m sure was written just for me. It encouraged us to release pressure so that we can access creativity and function better. As we lay in Savasana, the final relaxation pose in yoga, I imagined a boiling pot of water. The pot needs enough heat to boil. But, with too much heat or too much water, the pot boils over, creating a huge mess, and potentially becoming dangerous to anyone standing too close. Reducing the heat remedies the situation, and a smart cook will perhaps fill the pot a little less full next time, and keep an eye on the temperature before things get out of hand.

Oh yes, there’s a load of life lessons in that imagery. As we slam, somewhat abruptly for some of us, into the holiday season, what if we thoughtfully managed the heat under our pot (aka pressure), by setting goals but releasing attachment outcomes? What if we edit our calendar so the pot is a little less full? What if we go back to the gratitude exercise to help us travel from out of control to happy? I’ll go first:

  1. I’m grateful that I was able to put aside some routine work to focus on my daughter while my husband was away.

  2. I’m grateful that we have friends to extend an invitation to even though this is our first holiday season at this duty station.

  3. I’m grateful that I’ve been given many opportunities to grow professionally.

More gratitude. Less pressure. There’s no need to throw a Pinterest-worthy Thanksgiving. People just want time spent with friends and family, some really delicious food, maybe some football, and ultimately a nap.

I told my daughter that I would see how I felt this afternoon before extending a Thanksgiving dinner invitation. My laundry is only partially folded, and my to do list is still long. But, with my focus back on what’s really important, I’m ready to use this list of seasonal veggies as a jumping off point for my menu, and go ahead and see if another family wants to join us at our table.

What is your attitude toward gratitude right now?

{Compensation for this post was provided by Operation In Touch via MSB New Media. Operation In Touch offers special savings, coupons, recipes, beauty tips, and editorial content tailored to the lives of active military families. Check out their website or find them on Facebook and Pinterest. Opinions expressed in this piece are my own.}

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