A recent memorial for a friend of LCL featured a video, The Thanksgiving Chair. As the protagonist went through his day, which included moments of frustration and grief, a chair appeared as a reminder of the importance of giving thanks. As he sat in it, and later placed his daughter in the seat, that lesson was again learned. As a viewer of the video, I relearned it as well and recognized the positive role gratitude plays in my life. I felt incredible gratitude for the LCL friend who made such a difference to so many.
This demonstration of the importance of gratitude is common throughout spiritual traditions. The video was created in the Christian tradition and quotes I Thessalonians 5:18 which says, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Islam teaches that thankfulness includes “realizing and appreciating all blessings by and within the heart.” One translation of Judaism is “the path of gratitude.” The native American tradition of giving thanks (not to be confused with the Thanksgiving holiday which often includes stereotypes) is ingrained in ceremonial and sharing traditions. There was one thing you must do before all others. It is a simple thing: give thanks. Despite the challenges we may face from day to day, stopping to think of reasons to be grateful can completely change our in-the-moment view of the world.
Active addiction means not having enough and constantly thinking about having more. Recovery can mean having the time to reflect and to realize what we have is enough. It’s not always easy. We need to stop and actively notice what we have and experience that is enough. We need to practice. LCL can help.
The Path to Lawyer Well-Being Toolkit features an exercise “Grow Your Gratitude,” beginning on page 50. It offers evidence and exercises ranging from a gratitude jar to expressive activities to a journal. We can reduce anxiety and with practice become happier overall. We can see a way through things when the road may have seemed blocked.
Where is your thanksgiving chair and how can gratitude be part of your life today? Remember, LCL can help.