Being in Panama and getting ready for Thanksgiving has sparked memories of my mom, and how important gratitude is in our lives.

Let’s take this in order:

  • For the last few weeks my husband and I have been traveling in Panama. We stayed in Panama City a few days, visited the canal, and walked around enjoying the sights. We then took a plane to David, Panama, and traveled to the Los Establos Inn, a coffee plantation resort nestled in the lovely Boquete Valley with the picturesque Volcán Barú (volcano) towering in the background. During our time in Boquete we enjoyed whitewater rafting, ziplining, horseback riding, and touring an internationally-renowned coffee plantation.
  • While in Panama I have been reminded that my mom and step-dad visited here for a few days when their cruise ship traveled through the Isthmus. My mom shared how she was quite taken with the people, crossing the canal, and the brilliant colors. One of her favorite T-shirts, worn during the last days of her life, was a brightly colored one she had purchased in Panama so long ago.
  • Thanksgiving, an American holiday in origin, is a day that recognizes the first harvest feast day between the Pilgrims, early settlers, and the Wampanoag Indians. In my family, especially after I left for college, Thanksgiving represented a time to celebrate with close friends and rejoice in our life blessings.

My mom has been gone a year and half now, and I still approach Thanksgiving with a focus on friendships and gratitude. While a lot has been written about gratitude, I am adding my insights with a focus on process, practice, and meaning.

You’ll find ever more meaning in your gratitude ritual. #ClearPathForward Click To Tweet

A process is a series of steps or actions you take to achieve a specific end. Developing a gratitude process can be as simple or as complicated as you want. What is important is to identify your personal process. My process includes:

  • Spending five minutes at the end of each day
  • Writing down my key activities for the day
  • Reviewing each activity to identify what I was grateful for during that activity
  • Examining what one (or more) lessons I learned during the day
  • Recognizing the people who supported me through the day
  • Saying a short gratitude prayer to my Higher Power for all that has transpired

A practice is the “what” you do over and over again to make the process real, often improving along the way. For your gratitude practice, it means implementing the process each and every day. Even when you skip a step, keep at it.

As the practice becomes more ingrained, you’ll find ever more meaning in your gratitude ritual. It becomes not just a gratitude for daily activities, but a way to celebrate your life and all of its many blessings, challenges, and learnings.

ACTION: As you approach this time of thankfulness, consider your gratitude process, practice, and meaning. What opportunities are available to more fully define your gratitude process? How can you more fully integrate that process into your daily life? What meanings are you extracting from your daily practice?

Reaching out to all of you and wishing you a blessed and grateful Thanksgiving holiday.

Kathy Hart, EdD’s driving passion is human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women in midlife with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead even more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to reclaim your voice, realize a long-held dream, or just live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at The choice is yours!

Services that Kathy offers:

  • 1:1 coaching to support the journey into your midlife transition
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