We’re about a week away from the holiday that’s all about giving thanks. Giving. And thanks. Despite the Christmas music that begins playing exactly one minute after Halloween ends, 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 value 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.
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. It’s part of the imperfection of the human experience. 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 also 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 of not only having enough, but having 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.
Hopefully I speak for all of us when I say that I’m grateful to be together this morning in the spirit of growth and community. I’m grateful to see so many of our alumni back for a meeting. I’m grateful for the leadership that always rises to the challenge and won’t let an unfortunate circumstance like a fire in our main location to get in the way of our commitment to be together on a Wed morning.
No matter how big or small our possessions are, if our life and health are among them, if for the most part our family and those close to us are alive and safe, we have enough to recognize the gifts we 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.
This works for being charitable, and of course in the referrals department. Givers really do gain.
Later in the meeting, Jennifer Wilkov will remind us about the charitable opportunity this weekend. Wherever we can – both in and out of this room – let’s take advantage of helping others. And also the chance to work the muscles of our own gratitude. Give, receive, 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.