Look Within When Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving and Any Time

Thank YouThanksgiving is often a day when we pause, meditate and celebrate what we are thankful for.  We give thanks for famiily and friends, good fortune, surviving calamities and crossing thresholds into new and welcome ways of living. This Thanksgiving I'm paying attention to inner thank you's.  Perhaps you can join me as you discover and honor yours.  pix*

I'm thankful for my ability to heal.

I was burdened with bulimia for decades and now am free and well.  My body, mind, heart and soul worked their way to healing.  I've been sick and my body gathered resources from within and without, using them to resore my health.  I've had cracked bones, cut and burned skin, allergice responses to vaious things, and I've healed.  I had problems walking and, of course with extenal help and guidance, my body healed not only from chemical difficulties but also learned to adjust to a new and better way of walking and moving, i.e. in better alignment over all.
What a marvel it is to be a being that can heal.

I'm thankful for my ability to learn.

 I've memorized and forgotten a lot of facts over the years.  Thank goodness I have books and Google to get reminders.  But deep learning I remember. In fact, the deep learning expands as well as deepens over the years.  I recognize emotions in other people and have a storehouse of responses I carry, lessons and examples from wise people.  A relevant and kind response occurs to me naturally.  A self protective response occurs to me naturally. I recognize more and more what is an opportunity and what is dangerous.  And I know how to move or not move in ways that support my wel being.

I'm thankfrul for the bliss and desires of my soul.

 I trust my soul and know that much of what it seeks and desires is not within my conscious thought.  I've learned to listen and trust what comes from my soul and honor direction I'm given.  Sometimes I search for information that is boring, repetetive and sometimes, against my values, but I keep going because I know something within me is casting about. Invariably I eventually find a treasure hidden among all the dross, a treasure that becomes a doorway for me.

A recent example of this is my searching through masses of e-books and websites looking for information about how to create an e-book.  I kept finding get rich quick schemes and voices demeaning quality writing. But eventually I found Robert Glushko, a respected cognitive scientist, who knows about the current and coming demands for a new way to organize and present information as we reach the deluge overwhelm stage of information charging at us from every possible avenue.  He and his work are treasures for me.  With only 301 hits on his youtube video I was so fortunate to find him.  

My sweet pushy soul landed me in Ireland this year for a glorious spiritual and loving experience. It pushed me to Joshua Tree for a Soul Care retreat that brought me new awareness, joy and new friends.  Thank you, my soul.

I'm thank ful for my ability to love and learn to love in new ways.

Healing and learning caused many obstacle between my love and other people to weaken and fall.  My love remains and grows.  I can love the peope I love regardless of their behavior. My ability to love is teaching me more about being kind.  My ability to love and be kind is giving me the great gift of seeing people in my life gentle, smile and glow more.  Thank you for my ability to love and be kind.

I'm grateful for my anger.

 Anger rises in me when I see organized stupidity, cruelty and limitless greed.  Sometimes my anger surges before my awareness informs me.  So my anger informs me and tell me to look carefully at what prompts my anger.  My anger shows me where I need to teach, to write, to be more politically and economically active, donate money and support institutions that wok against what raises my anger.  Thank you for my anger.

Thank you for my ability to appreciate life and beauty.  

The days of my life, no matter what is going on, have many wonderful and joyous moments because I see life and beauty around me.  I see hummingbirds in the honeysuckle bushes.  I see the taut exquisite muscular beauty of my dog, Trey, when she is on squirrel alert.  I see soul delight in a child's face when she is thrilled about a picture she drew and see her warm nestling into an accepting and kind world when I honor her work and picture by hanging it from the chandelier or posting it on the refrigerator.

I'm thankful for my ability to be kind and generous with myself and learn what that means.  

I'm writing this to you on my desktop computer in my beautiful office: brick floor, raw wood walls with lots of big windows, high ceiling, crystal chandelier, art I like, lighting I need, storage that's appropriate and a cup of tea. I gave myself this room and this equipment.  

What were the trade offs?  I really don't know. I could add up the money, time and thought that went into creating this room and think about what I could have used it for: new car? fur coat? lots of restaurant dinners? jewelry? shoes? high fashion?  I don't know because I didn't want those things.  I wanted to give myself this.  Now that it's here I can write to you from this lovely and supportive place before I leave to be with my family for Thanksgiving dinner.

I'm thankful for my abiity to sleep.  

Only in the past few years have I learned to honor and appreciate that abiity.  I no longer take it for granted.  I make an effort to see that, for the most part, I have eight hours of sleep a night.  I give to myself by giving me a comfortable bed with lovely quilts and pillows, in a simple lovely room.  When I turn out the light to sleep, I am relaxed, peaceful, grateful and till morning. Thank you for my learning to respect my sleep and for my ability to sleep.

I'm grateful to wake up in the mornng.

 I see the light through my french doors.  I hear the dogs stirring. I feel the warmth of my bed and the cool of the now autumn air. I'm ready.
Thank you for my ability to wake up for the new day.

I'm thankful for my stalwartness in and continuing joy in my journal writing.  

it's a daily morning practice now and a place where I learn, support and teach my heart and soul what I am learning.  Or rather, it's a place where my heart and soul teach me.  Thank you for learning so well that I need my journal.  Thank you for my ability to create and time and place to write in my journal and take it with me to wherever I will wake up in the morning.

And now, to bring my dogs to the park where my family is already playing.  Then dinner.  Then, since the children have completed a full reading of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, they are allowed to watch the movie.  And I will watch them watching it as we carouse and snuggle on the couch during the show.  :)

P.S.  I'm also thankful for the ability of my hair to grow.  I am loving having long hair.  :)

What would you add to this list?  Please do in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving!  

  1. What are your inner thanks?
  2. Did you have them all along or did they take time to develop?  
  3. What gifts come from your inner gifts?
  4. How do you honor the valuable wonders within you?


This image was originally posted to Flickr by Patrick Hoesly. It was reviewed on  by the FlickreviewR robot and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.


0 # Thanksgivingmylifex2 2013-11-28 21:10
Thank you so very much for sharing this with us.  It is beautiful and thought provoking. You are so very centered. I know this did not happen for you overnight.  I know that you have worked so hard for so long to be where you are. 

A friend once told me that giving to others was the best way to feel good about herself and her life. I know that to be true for me as well. 

Things I am specifically thankful for are the following:

The compassion I feel for others who are hurting.  My mom wrote a note about me in my baby book when I was about 5. She wrote "you are kind and sensitive to the pain of others". There are times that I have despised this aspect of myself, feeling that I have been used or played.  But I have come to learn that feeling compassion is never a wasted thing.

Secondly I am thankful for my growing ability to say "no" when it's in my best interest.  I'm still working on the "not feeling bad" part of this decision, however. 

Third, I am thankful for my common sense and ability to think quick on my feet.  This comes in handy working in a busy hospital. 

I am thankful for my persistence in therapy- and on that note I am thankful for my doctor and for this web page that offers support to me. It has been a very hard year of therapy for me, but I'm working so hard!

I am thankful for some healing in my eating disorder.  I have come so far in the past 18 months.  I have come from a place of starvation to a place of nourishment and better acceptance of my body.  I give a lot of credit to this website and the support it offers to so many.

I am thankful for my kids. They help me realize how sweet life can be and how to keep it simple - it shouldn't be so hard to get up every morning. 

I am thankful for things that are obvious- my parents are still living, I have amazing friends, a job I finally love, a place to live, and food to eat. There is so much more, but I will stop with these. 


0 # Glad to share gratitude with youpinkjoanna 2013-11-28 21:43
Dear Tracy,

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for writing your beautiful post. 

Yes, all these qualities we are grateful for take time and effort to develop.  So I'm also thankful for your ability and mine to keep developing as we improve the quality of our being and thus, the quality of our lives.

I love the way you talk about your children, Tracy.  I'm thankful for your ability to love them, appreciate them and take delight and inspiration from their presence in your life.  Kids get that. :-)

I'm thankful that my experience and perspectives I offer on this site contribute to your healing and growth.  It's such a joy to me to know that my site supports you in your so very worthwhile efforts to live well in health.

0 # I'm thankful...Jackie 2013-12-05 22:12
I'm a week late, but I couldn't sleep. So here are my thoughts.

I'm truly thankful for the love of God that I have felt since I was a child. I often forget this in the short term, but it is something that is always with me if I decide to pay attention. I am beloved. I am very special.

I'm thankful for my nature, my personality with all it's quirks. I'm thankful for the ability to articulate what I am thinking or feeling. I'm thankful for my courage. I'm thankful for my sense of humor.

I'm thankful for the people who love me, who see what is worthy and beautiful about my presence even when I don't. 

I'm thankful for my children. Who I love. Who are excellent teachers.

I'm thankful for my husband, who is a kind and decent human and a wonderful father. I'm thankful that he chooses to love me. I'm thankful for the home he provided for us. I'm thankful for the ways in which he holds us together. I'm thankful that he is Irish and that I get to visit a place that is so ruggedly beautiful each year. I'm thankful for the safety and freedom I feel when I am there.

I'm thankful for my students, who I love helping. I'm thankful for the way they love me back. I'm thankful for the talents I've been given that help me connect with them. I'm thankful to have a job that allows me to help others and pays well.

I'm thankful for my therapist and my doctors who I believe truly care about helping me--and it's the thought that counts. 

I'm thankful for my parents because they tried the best they could. I'm thankful for my birth mother who loved me the best she could, without her choice I would not have had my adoptive grandparents, whom l love with all my heart even though they are deceased.

I'm thankful for my mother in law who is the sweetest, most lovely woman. I'm thankful that she prays for me every day. I'm thankful for her companionship when we are together. I just love her.  I'm thankful to be part of a big family.

I'm thankful for my ability to heal, to move forward from horrible, heartbreaking circumstances and still retain my faith and my ability to love others. I'm thankful for that Grace. 

I'm thankful the the knowledge I gained since discovering that what was going on with me was an eating disorder. I'm thankful for the days when I think clearly and eat healthy. 

I'm thankful I found this site and read Joanna's book. I'm thankful for the wisdom and experiences shared.
0 # Love reading theseshh 2013-12-06 02:14

.I have loved reading everyone's reasons to be thankful, some of them are very humbling, some spark off reflective thoughts - I think they are wonderful!

However, my feeling of "I will post something tomorrow..." yet tomorrow never comes, lets me know that I have a certain amount of resistance around this, and I'm not sure why.

It's not that I take everything in my life for granted and it's not that I don't feel thankful for many things, it's more that feeling of the enormity of the task ahead, as there are so many things to be thankful for, where do I start and where does it end? It's HUGE! TOO HUGE!

This feeling, the one of not being able to face the enormity of the task ahead, and the guilt or inadequacy that I feel as a result of that, that's really what underlies my ED. And I am, in the main, thankful for my ability to think broader, faster, deeper, or as my therapist would say, "bigger", she describes it as my "bigness".

What I realise as I'm writing this, is that it's about parameters, context, framework, boundaries for me, I need a defined space to work within, to contain my thoughts; I don't deal very well with open ended, anything goes questions, the options are too vast, I need some direction. And so I am thankful, for this blog and everyone's contributions, for helping me to realise that today!


0 # Structured questionspinkjoanna 2013-12-06 13:21
Thank you for your wonderful posts of thankfulness. They are a joy to read, and I'm sure they inspire many people.

Here's  more structured approach to giving thanks for your inner qualities.

Please choose one and answer in one post.  Please respond to only one per post, but, of course, you are free to post as many comments as you like.

1.  What are three qualities in your nature that allow you to heal or feel joy?

2.   What are three qualities in your nature that allow you to learn and improve your life?

3.    What are three qualities in your nature that allow to to love?

4.    What are three qualities in your nature that allow you to meet your challenges?

5.    What are three qualities in your nature that make it possible for you to appreciate yourself?

I look forward to your responses!   :-)
0 # Qualities that allow me to loveshh 2013-12-06 17:09

I am grateful that I am able to accept myself and love myself enough that I can love others for being who they truly are without projecting my unmet needs onto them and expecting them to attend to those needs or change anything about themselves, and also that I can spot this in the way that others relate to me.

I am thankful that I can accept that whilst we are all unique individuals, we are also all human, and all flawed - non of us are perfect. Accepting my imperfections and those of others allows me to love without any expectations.

I am also thankful that I am able to give of myself in relationship, and that whilst I may not have fully experienced it yet, I am not afraid of true intimacy, which I believe leaves me open to love.

0 # My understanding of the qualities that allow me to love...Jackie 2013-12-08 16:48
When you give love to someone whom you believe needs that love in order to heal, you are doing God's work. I believe this. It is part of my soul's work. I also think my own sense of vulnerability allows me to see vulnerability in others, it also allows me to see what is worthy and special about the people I am loving. In my finest moments I am present, open and giving. When I am working with my students I feel love towards them. I feel it coming off of me and going to them. I recall during my interview (eighteen years ago) my first boss asked me how I provide therapy and I said "I love them through it." That's what I do. Anything else I teach them comes after that sincere connection. If I don't love them at first, I know that I will eventually, I will pay attention until I find something to make that connection.

It's funny though, I choose to give it to my students and at times I choose not to give it at home. I choose not to give it to myself. Yet, it is so easy to give. I'm one of those people who would tell people that I love them on a regular basis or even out of the blue. I'm so appreciative of the gifts that people offer through their talents. I'm easy. If you let me love you, I will. Most people don't know what to do with this type of openness.
0 # My ability to appreciate myself....Jackie 2013-12-08 17:30
I know that I am special just because I breathe. I'm completely aware of this when I am alone. I enjoy my own company.  My sense of humor allows me to appreciate the absurdities that appear daily in my life. I appreciate my ability to attend to minute details and then think about them for hours. I appreciate my creativity and how it crosses all areas of my life. I appreciate my ability to find things that interest or entertain my mind. I appreciate my intelligence. I appreciate the aspects of me that are sexy and charming at any size.

I just noticed that each of these things has to do with the mind and not the body. Okay. I appreciate the genetics that allowed me to have an attractive face and wild, curly hair. I appreciate that somewhere there is a small frame with decent proportions waiting for me to show up.

 My problems arrive when I or others don't see me or don't respect the boundaries I have created for myself. Then I begin to disappear. I stay in my mind and not in my body. I notice that the quirks I love are causing problems for the people I live with. I start focusing on the problems rather than the solution. I don't apply love to heal it. I have the power, I just won't access it. This is highly annoying to the part of me that loves me, who doesn't see this transition to healthy as an impossible task. That person thinks it is as easy as breathing, you just do it. You just do it.
0 # Meeting challengesJackie 2013-12-08 17:55
It is essential to like one's own company if you are going to go about disturbing people by expressing your thoughts, needs and feelings to others. I learned this as a child. You will be sent to your room for days, so make the most of it.

People would rather not know what you are thinking or feeling. I've had years of practice at expressing myself in relationships and yet, I still haven't figured out how to do this without upsetting people. Now, if you need someone to champion your cause or to make demands, I'm your girl. I have loads of courage-- on the outside.

I am also very honest. I prefer humility to humiliation. Although, I've had a great deal of experience with humiliation.

Going through a lifetime of painful or hurtful experiences allows you to believe that you will survive whatever is happening--because God loves you more than you could possibly know. It is His Grace and Mercy that will save you each time. This is where I get my courage, even though my immature self would like to think it is because I am bold and brave.
0 # Qualities that allow me to learn and improve my lifeshh 2013-12-08 18:54

I guess I have always had some kind of belief that most things in life are possible/achievable, I'm not sure where it comes from, but I have always been the kind of person who never doubts that, it never comes into my head that I can't do something or something isn't possible, what comes into my head is "I need to go into that further", "I need to learn how to do that", "I need to figure out a way to achieve that"

I've mentioned this before, but my thinking style is on the whole quite useful... we used to have a hand signal for my way of thinking in therapy, as we never really had a name for it, and it was easier to do the hand signal than expend words and energy describing it, but basically it's sort of like a domino rally in the shape of a spider diagram, gathering momentum very quickly and sparking off ideas in multiple directions simultaneously. The downside of it is that I sometimes get a bit overwhelmed by the volume of stuff I produce in response to a simple question or stimulus.

I also like to reflect and I am quite introspective, and I'm a bit like the child that says "why?... and why is that?...but why?...why?...why?..."

I also believe in 2 things that on the face of it might sound a little contradictory - one being that I just am, and everything just is, if I didn't sit here giving meaning to things, I would still, as a collection of cells, continue to tick along and exist, and the other is that life is a journey, that never stands still, it is constantly evolving, changing, and showing and teaching me things I didn't know before.

I'm a very open person, my belief is that everyone has something to offer, everyone has something that I could take something or learn something useful from. I am also a rather passionate person who feels very energised just by being aware of being alive.

More than 3 things, but  I think collectively all those things allow me to continue to learn and improve my life.


0 # Learning and improving my lifemylifex2 2013-12-08 20:25
At first I read these options and thought, " I can't answer any of these".  However, I began to rack my mind a little and was able to come up with the following, but first I would like to say that some of my answers would be better described as being due to nurture vs. nature. 

I have developed tenacity. I don't give up easily. I am working hard in therapy to resolve my abuse issues and how this has affected my whole life. I have learned that I can't change what happened, only how I react and deal with it.  I have begun to learn that my past does not have to define my present or my future. 

I am extremely independent.  I have been through a lot alone. I have dealt with my abuse and my ED alone - save therapists and doctors. I don't like to rely on friends or family for these things as they would not understand. Due to seeking help independently, I have found sites like this that encourage me and help to guide me in my healing. 

Love. My love for my kids keeps me learning and growing.  I work on loving myself - (a HUGE therapy conversation for me).  I think once I can accomplish the latter my life will really come together.
0 # testingjennix 2013-12-09 14:37
please ignore this comment
Laura R
0 # qualities that allow me to healLaura R 2013-12-09 18:39
1. Being wired to be sensitive. I'm highly sensitive which can be hard at times and it's also very helpful. I have plenty of data to work with as I'm constantly getting mentally and physical cues and they give me awareness about what may need attention.

2. Honesty. I'm not very good at denial and can usually tell when I'm not being truthful with myself. Being able to recognize the truth helps me call it how it is and acknowledge where I'm at. I usually am able to make decisions or take action when I operate from truth.

3. Accepting help. I'm at a place now where I want help and ask for help. Asking for help allows me to feel supported while I work to be curious and experiment and lean in to things.

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