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Gratitude Rocks: Each and Every Day 


Article by Susan Ginsberg

Photography by Susan Ginsberg

Thanksgiving is upon us this month, and many of us will be working hard in the kitchen preparing a delicious meal of turkey and its supporting cast of delicious side dishes. Our focus may be on that fantastic meal and getting it all done just right, but sometimes the inner meaning of the holiday becomes a footnote. It’s important to remember the true meaning of this holiday- Giving Thanks. But what does that really mean?

History books portrayed the first Thanksgiving as a time when the Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Native Americans of Wampanoag came together in 1621 to celebrate with a feast to give thanks for the first harvest since the drought. Many have since debunked this, calling it pure fiction and propaganda. Others, like myself, choose to see the symbolism in this holiday of giving thanks and reflect upon our lives what we truly are grateful for.

For years, our family had a tradition of going around the table on Thanksgiving and saying what we all were grateful for. One year, I wrote the word ‘gratitude’ on a rock and brought it to the host of our family holiday, my sister. We each held the rock in our hands and thought about the past year and what things we truly were grateful for and passed this rock around the table year after year.

I encourage each of you to look beyond the turkey and the ‘fixins’ this year and add some meaning into your own family holiday tradition. You don’t have to go shopping and search for your own gratitude rock; simply pick one up and with a sharpie marker, write 'gratitude' on it.  As you hold it in your hands, take a moment to truly reflect and think about what you are grateful for and blessed with in your life. Speaking these words to those around you and listening to theirs as well has a tremendous impact on our lives- this act of appreciating all the blessings and gifts we all share. Not to mention, this gratitude practice is healthy for our minds and our bodies. A daily gratitude practice improves our sleep, our heart health, stress-coping skills, and even our inflammation markers in our body, and also leads to a more positive and optimistic lifestyle.

Recently, I taught a Gratitude Meditation on Zoom and we each made gratitude rocks that I encouraged others to bring to their Thanksgiving table and use each and every day, as well. It spurred a few participants to make rocks for others and gift them to them both directly and anonymously. This was also an impetus for me to share these rocks with others in a random way- placing them out on walking paths for others to pick up and enjoy. I even enlisted the help of my good friend Rachel to help spread the message and join me with this endeavor. We placed rocks in random places in my neighborhood and Rachel also placed one at the Grand Canyon on a recent trip with her daughter!

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Have an ‘attitude of gratitude’ EVERY day, and not just on Thanksgiving. I have a rock by my bedside and start each and every day giving thanks to the gifts I am blessed with in my life. You can also purchase a gratitude journal and spend a few minutes writing down a few things that you are grateful for each day.  Another option is a gratitude jar. My daughter Jordyn, a school social worker, recently made this gratitude 'jar' out of cardstock to share with the student she works with. It warms my heart that this message of gratitude resonated so much with Jordyn that she continues this practice each and every day.

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I encourage you to consider starting your day in this way and also incorporating a gratitude rock-passing into your own Thanksgiving meal. I am so very grateful to each and every one of you for taking the time and reading my articles. I hope they resonate with you in some meaningful way.

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