This Thanksgiving weekend, my family – like many others – will gather to offer grace – a prayer in appreciation for that which we have.
Grace has many meanings: a prayer before meals; unmerited, unearned assistance; the state of being considerate or thoughtful; and ease of movement or bearing.
The word, grace encompasses two keys to both health and happiness: grace in attitude and action.
Grace in Attitude
When many pray, they pray for that which they do not have. Their prayers are petitions for what they want or need. The cup may seem half full – or empty with a deep longing to be filled.
Grace is different; it is a recognition of that which we have been given through grace. Again, what we have has been given without merit; they are gifts unearned.
To offer grace before a meal – great or small, primes us for appreciation – for our food and those with whom we may share it.
I instruct my family to follow my morning ritual of a meditation of appreciation – before rising from bed, be thankful for that which we have: family and friends, work or school, a home, food, clothing, and the day of life before us.
To begin each day with an attitude of gratitude primes us to see the positives and extrapolated to the challenges of each day, can make the difference between feeling unhappy, dissatisfied or frustrated and feeling fortunate, happy and empowered.
Our attitudes are infectious. If parents begin their mornings with complaints, they can frame their children’s days with negativity and criticism. Misery creates company.
But when we recognize the good in our children, lovingly guiding them when they falter, we can create greater happiness and help them towards their potentials.
The happiest and healthiest of my patients share an attitude of appreciation. They accept and cope with the realities of aging while appreciating what is still working well in their lives. They accept the loss of loved ones, appreciating the blessings of those relationships over the years. They cope with illness, accident and disease, knowing that I will work with them in rising to those challenges.
Next: Grace in Action