A few days ago one of my daughters was making a wish list. As I moved around our kitchen in dinner preparations I overheard her say “to be rich.” Her words caught me in my tracks. Here we sat, in our warm, comfortable home, about to eat a healthy and plentiful meal with my father visiting from 2000+ miles away. I’d call that rich.

But clearly this daughter of mine had received a message that made her feel otherwise. That was a familiar feeling for me, even though I grew up with all that I needed. There were always other kids with more, lots more, and it stung. The more I focused on it, of course, the more I felt a lack rather than abundance. And here my daughter was, carrying on the family legacy. She’d heard me say enough times that “we can’t afford that” or “that’s too much.” Time for mother and daughter to notice our thinking.

I stopped my cooking and asked Coco what rich looked like.

“We’d spend lots of time at home.” CHECK

“We’d get presents.” CHECK

“We’d get candy.” CHECK CHECK (especially last week!)

“OK” I said, “it sounds like we already have those things. Can we make a list of things we do have, a gratitude list rather than a wish list?”

Coco’s eyebrows went up in delight.

“Sure,” she said, nodding, and started to write the word GRADITOOD on a new piece of paper.

Needless to say, it was pretty easy to come up with plenty to be grateful for. Pop Pop (my father) was on the list, and Halloween, and her stuffies. We talked about contentment and what is “enough.” Coco taped our gratitude list on the fridge and we decided to add something to it every day for a week. Since then we’ve come up with “love”, “red leaves in the Arboretum” and “friends.”

At 8 Limbs we’ve also got gratitude on the mind. Later this month we’ll be introducing Gratitude Trees into all four 8 Limbs studios. This will be an opportunity for us to explore gratitude together as a community. You’ll be able to share what gratitude means to you and read what your fellow practitioners have to say. And as always, our Thanksgiving Benefit Classes are a great way to give thanks to local non-profits for all that they do while you celebrate Thanksgiving Day with yoga at your neighborhood 8 Limbs.

Happy November, Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer

Neighborhood Studios