Sunday, November 22, 2015

Keep Calm and Give Thanks

"11:11 - make a wish," they said. But you know what I realized? I don't need to.

Pursuit Manila had its thanksgiving and year-ender gathering last weekend entitled "Keep Calm and Give Thanks." It's the second gathering I've joined - the first one was in October where we each brought three handmade gifts to give to three random ladies attending the event. (I made marbled mugs!)

When was the last time you stopped to think about all the blessings you've received? I honestly don't remember - what about you? My guess is you don't either. We busy ourselves with so many things during the day that all we want to do when we get home is rest. We go home complaining how tired and how stressed we are, then we wake up the following day and do the same things all over again. Life has become an endless cycle - if you don't stop and think, it will just pass by without you noticing  Seriously, how many times have you heard people say "Ang bilis ng panahon! I can't believe it's already _____"? If we don't consciously press the pause button, one day we'll wake up realizing how we wasted so much time on trivial things instead of things that actually matter. Sometimes, we even complain about the most random things that we don't notice what God has already given.

With so much going on in our lives - because we are always so consumed in going about our daily tasks - we often forget to appreciate what we have. So, take a moment to stop.. and smell the roses. I'm glad I got to do just that at the Pursuit gathering. After Carla talked about the Attitude of Gratitude - which you can also read on her blog, lucky you - we were asked to fill out our Top 10 Gratitude List of 2015. At first I was thinking "oh no, what am I supposed to write on this?" I semi-panicked because we were supposed to discuss our lists with our tablemates in ten minutes, and I still had nothing on mine! But then I remembered to keep calm. It was only when I placed all my worries aside that I was able to think about the things I was grateful for. We all took turns sharing our stories and our personal lists, which for me is a huge deal because this is not a topic that we usually discuss with our circles. It's great to have a support group who will listen and can relate to what you're going through as well.

We need to remember that we cannot do everything. Admit it, you don't like asking for help. Carla talked how we women always want to do stuff on our own. We want to show how independent and strong we are at all times. But at some point, we're going to have to realize that we can't actually do everything. Sure, we can do anything, but we can't do everything. For Carla, the realization came when she became a mom. She started learning how to ask and accept help from her friends and family. It's not such a bad thing to ask for help once in a while, so long as we don't start becoming dependent on other people, of course.

Carla also mentioned about how gratitude is a two-way street. If someone does something for you, make sure to let them know how grateful you are. Show them that you appreciate them. Why? Because it encourages them to be helpful and generous to other people as well. It helps make the world a better place, in a sense.

Gratitude also takes you away from your current troubles. Instead of complaining about your situation - for example, you've been stuck in traffic for two hours already - try focusing your attention on positive things instead. Like how your mom packed you your favorite lunch today, or how you didn't have to commute on a rainy Friday night because of the fact that you have a car. Simple things matter, too. We don't have to wait for huge life-changing moments (let's say, getting a promotion) to give thanks. Heck, we don't even have to wait for something good to happen to do that. I'm not trying to sound preachy or whatever, I actually need to apply this in my own life. I'm going to make a mental note to do this the next time I get into a difficult situation or feel the urge to complain. #NoteToSelf

1 Thessalonians 5:18: "In everything, give thanks."
"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was thank you, that would suffice." - Meister Eckhart

In the two gatherings I've attended, I can say that Pursuit Manila is a community that not only brings women closer to God, but it also helps them understand their true self. At the first gathering, we each shared about our biggest blessings and greatest fears for the year. This time, we talked about gratitude. Like I said earlier, these are not everyday topics for casual conversations. We gather for a purpose, and that is for God. I'm proud to say that I have met such wonderful and beautiful women and sisters through this community and I hope to meet more of them in the next gatherings.