As we move through this month of November, we approach a holiday that’s all about giving thanks. Giving. And thanks. Despite the Christmas music that began playing exactly one minute after Halloween ended, of course I’m talking about Thanksgiving.
We know the words “thanks,” and “thankful,” and “gratitude.” But I want to take a closer look today because I believe it can provide access to a source of power that’s all around us and always available.
Consider that in a moment when life is going well, and we’re feeling good, it’s possible that we will feel grateful for it. Maybe so, maybe not.
But in a moment when we feel gratitude, feeling that life is good is a definite. In other words, happiness *might* lead to gratitude, but gratitude is *certain* to lead to happiness.
That’s because we all have a glass that has both water and air within it. And we all have the ability to perceive it as half full or half empty. Gratitude is not about being lucky that good things have occurred. And it’s not about hoping that things go the way you want and then being happy about it if they do. That’s way too passive. Gratitude is a *choice* – to focus on the water rather than the air. A choice to see – and appreciate – what is there, rather than what is not. We will always have gaps and missing pieces. But when we’re aware of what we do have, and choose to appreciate it, our experience in that moment becomes that of abundance.
It is of course possible to lose this appreciation, even in the moment which immediately follows. Remaining in that state of abundance can be challenging, and it takes effort. But just as two pieces of physical matter cannot occupy the same space at the same time, two emotional states cannot occupy the same heart and mind.
We cannot feel grateful and depressed, or frustrated, or angry, at the same time.
So while life may challenge us to hold onto that good feeling, if we can get there – even for five minutes – we can enjoy the satisfaction from the experience that we not only have enough, but that we have quite a lot.
Especially given the recent events around our country, and around our world, I invite you to find the time to look around and appreciate what you have.
No matter how big or small your possessions are, if your life and health are among them, if for the most part your family and those close to you are alive and safe, you have enough to recognize the gifts you have.
And if you want to generate even more gratitude, take action in the spirit of giving. We would never give something away if we didn’t have enough. So the act of giving actually forces the mind to relate to what we have as plenty – so much that we can give some away.
Later in the meeting, Jennifer Wilkov will talk a bit more about the charitable opportunities presented this month. Take advantage of not only helping others – which is certainly important – but also the chance to work the muscles of your own gratitude. Give, and feel thankful.
Here’s wishing you a warm, safe and abundant start to the holiday season.
I’m grateful for many things, including you.