Excerpted from “We Never Left the Garden” by Pamela Galadrial

The theme of “Thanksliving” was suggested many years ago while I did inner listening. I was told “Give thanks for all things.” I asked, “All things?” I was told “YES, ALL THINGS!” It was suggested to me that I look at my life as it was and give thanks for all of it.

Let’s do that right now. Take a moment and close your eyes. Look at and be present with your life as it is right now. Examine what is on your plate currently – your present friends, relationships, family, job situation, home situation, political situation, current spiritual understanding – and say “Thank You” for everything that is in your life right now.

I heard that! Someone just asked “Do I have to mean it? Must it be sincere?” Be as sincere as you can, to the very best of your ability at this moment. If you really have difficulty, just say “thank you” anyway, and add a thank-you for the difficulty in feeling thankful.

At the time in my life when this happened (many years ago, remember) there were certain aspects of my life that I did not like. I asked my inner voice if that meant that I also should thank the I.R.S. for the field audit we were going through? “YES.” Every time I get sick I am to say thank you for the illness? “YES.” I should say thank you to the person who murdered my brother? “YES.” I should say “thank you” for the good and the bad? Guess what the answer was “YES!” I was told to put my trust in God and not in my own understanding, for all things work together for good.

Today I no longer believe that there is good vs. bad. There is only God, which I believe is all-loving. There is nothing “bad” in the Universe. Our perception of events around us causes us to experience peace or pain. We all have experienced events that, upon reflection, we know to have been purposeful, although we didn’t have the perspective to see the whole picture at the time. When we’re in the forest, often all we see is the tree in front of us.

I have learned over the years that I have two choices in any situation: I can be grateful, or I can be angry. Which choice do you suppose provides more peace and acceptance? Gratitude, clearly. You may not understand or like a situation, but saying “thank you” allows us to return to a state of peace with little struggle or effort. This was not clear to me thirteen years ago, so my inner voice suggested that I do the following exercises.

1. Make a gratitude list. Write down all the people, circumstances, and things for which you are grateful.

2. On a daily basis, start to give thanks for people, circumstances, and things in your life.

3. Examine several areas of your life where you find it difficult to feel gratitude, and identify at least one thing for which you are in fact grateful. (If you do not like your job, for example, give thanks that you have a job, and give thanks for the paycheck that you do get. If you do not like where you live give thanks that you have somewhere to live.)

>>> Do the following exercises at one sitting <<< 4. List at least three things (people or situations) for which you are grateful. 5. List three areas in your life where you find it difficult to be grateful and the reason why: “I am not grateful for _____________ because _____________.” 6. Reframe the statements from number 5 by finding at least one gift in each for which you can be grateful. You might choose to write: “I am grateful to _____________ for _____________ because I’ve learned _____________ or I’ve changed _____________. >>> An example for #5 <<< 5. I am not grateful for my husband or wife because I feel like he (she) is always making me wrong. >>> An example for #6 <<< 6. I am grateful for my husband or wife because I’ve learned that other peoples’ opinion of me are just that: their opinion. It does not mean that I am wrong or bad or inferior. I can be free of the opinions of those around me.