Today is November 14, 2016. In just 11 days, we will celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday in the USA. Every year since 2013, I take the inventory of my year during what I call “11 Days of Thanksgiving”. In these 11 days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, I review and remind myself of what I am grateful for in this year.
As I look back on the year 2016, I see it as a year of growth. That includes developing new habits that have helped me in my personal life, deeper understanding of spiritual concepts that came through testing experiences, and the clarity I received for me and for my clients to move us forward on our professional paths.
This was also the year when I realized which of my actions have led me to where I am today. When we live life, make decisions, and take the actions intentionally or unintentionally, we cannot possibly foresee all of the consequences that happen as a ripple effect. However, upon reflection, we might be able to see a thread that binds the actions to some results.
So as I think about what I am thankful for, what comes to mind are the many small actions that I once took that built me up to experience and fuel the growth I have seen in this year. In the next 11 Days of Thanksgiving, I am going to share these actions and the results with you in the hope that you will find your next action in the list, and it will lead you to the inspiration, clarity, and growth you seek.
By the way, I invite you to join me in reviewing your year and reminding you of your blessings. This is a powerful reset that will set you up for success in the coming year. You will know more as you read the rest of this post. But if you do want to get started with me, send me a request to join this Facebook group.
Here’s my Day 1 of 11 Days of Thanksgiving:
The first time I took this action was in November 2013. I had no idea of the impact it would have on my life and in the lives of others near me. 3 years later, I am convinced that this small, in a way unplanned action is what fuels my constant progress – professionally and personally.
The action was to start the series of 11 Days of Thanksgiving. Actually, when I first started, I set out to write for only 10 days but I simply couldn’t wrap up all my thanks in 10 days so I had to add one more day. After the series ended, I continued to do the gratitude practice, and I haven’t missed a single day!
But in order to understand why it changed my life (and no, I am not exaggerating), you have to understand why I started to do it in the first place.
In September 2013, I lost my dearest aunt to a freak accident. I was in shock! She was only 58 years old, and one of the healthiest people in our family. She was a Yoga teacher. She was not just my aunt, she was like a second mother to me. She was also my friend, confidant and a trusted advisor.
Before her passing, I haven’t really been shaken by death. Fortunately, we are blessed with long, healthy lives in our family. 3 of my grandparents are no longer with us but they lived a life well in their 80s – most of it happy and healthy. My great grandmother lived until 98. So this was the first death of my loved one that was totally unexpected.
I looked fine from the outside but I was grieving deeply inside. And honestly, I didn’t know what to make of it. I was constantly worrying about the uncertainty of life. The fear of dying without making any impact on this world was eating me alive. And one of the people whom I would discuss such things was no longer there for me.
Professionally, I was doing well by the external standards of success. But as I started thinking more and more about my purpose in life, I realized, that job wasn’t it. I couldn’t see myself working for somebody else. The company culture didn’t support experimentation and finding creative ways to solve problems which is where I thrive. And to add insult to the injury, I had over 3 hours of commute every day.
So both professionally and personally I felt stuck. I knew I am born to live a life bigger than that but I felt helpless not having the clarity on how to get out of the grief, fear, and stress.
After a couple of months of feeling that the situation is totally out of my control, I finally came to a point where I simply couldn’t take it anymore. I had to do something.
And the only thing I could think of is to start counting what I have in my life that I love. It was an effort to take my mind off of what I don’t have.
It worked like a charm!
Because I missed my aunt so much, every single day, I wrote about one or more people that I am GLAD to still have with me. I had in mind to talk about the positive aspects of my career, happy home, and some valued possessions but they didn’t even make the cut.
It was then that I understood what really matters to me – the people in my life, what they have taught me, and the joy they bring me. Nothing or nobody can take those memories away.
That was the mindset shift I needed.
1. I was filled with joy as I recounted my experiences with my loved ones. I realized that while I cannot stop the cycle of life and death, I can certainly strive to build more fond memories.
2. The grief of not having my aunt was replaced by the gratitude of having her when I did.
3. It put things in perspective. Some aspects of my life that I was worried about no longer had that power over me because I knew I already have a lot of what I need.
4. I discovered my love for writing.
5. For the first time, I felt what it is like to use your passions to benefit others. When my friends commented on my posts how much it reminded them of somebody special in their lives or how they felt the peace of mind after recounting their memories with me, I had a sense of satisfaction and peace that I had not experienced before. Looking back, I can say that it was the feeling of living my purpose.
On the last day of the Thanksgiving, when my friends (and loyal readers of the 11 days) asked me to write more, I started writing my thoughts via Facebook statuses. Soon they wanted to share it with their friends so I created this blog. And now through this blog, I get coaching and speaking engagements.
3 years later, I no longer have that job, I have received a lot more clarity on my unique set of skills and strengths, and every single day, I feel that joy of living my purpose.
But most of all, it has given me the confidence that everything will happen in its due course. What’s in our best interest now, is to live in this moment.
I am forever grateful for the day when I wrote my very first Day 1 of 11 Days of Thanksgiving.
If you want to join me in this practice, and experience for yourself how good you feel after doing it, send me a request to join the Facebook group here.
I look forward to connecting with you there.