Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What are you doing on Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I suppose that the food has a lot to do with it. I also love seeing so many of my family and friends that I could never see often enough. We also do a lot of reminiscing on Thanksgiving, or at least I do and have every intention of doing the same thing at this year's Thanksgiving.

A day to give thanks. Really? Really? Just one day? To me, giving thanks is something to be done daily, if not several times a day.  My good friend, let's call him Jim, has been in a program for many years. While in the program he had a sponsor and they spoke to each other almost daily. Every conversation started the same way. " What are you grateful for today, Jim?"  WOW!  That is powerful stuff. Imagine if we all took the time to think about what we are grateful for, or thankful for each and every day. Do you think it would make a difference in our world? I do.

At the risk of being redundant and repeating myself and being redundant, as I have said many times before, gratitude is the key to happiness. Gratitude is the same thing as being thankful. Being thankful is what we are called to do today. This has nothing to do with religion or faith. It has entirely to do with how we choose to live our lives and see the world.

I recently saw a video of a man speaking about "The Happiness Advantage". In it the speaker discusses how so many people believe that they will be happy " when…". His argument, and it is a good one too, is that people who are happy are more likely to be successful than those who postpone their happiness until something happens. (The video is long and he does not start speaking until 33 min. into it. I promise you it is worth waiting for.)  I say why wait? If gratitude leads to happiness, then Thanksgiving seems to be as good of a time as any to start being thankful. 

I am asking everyone to do one thing today. After the greetings and the hugs, maybe even before dinner and drinking, take a minute. Think about what and who you are thankful for. If you are gathered around the table, tell everyone what you are thankful for and ask them to do the same. Give this Thanksgiving its full meaning and purpose. Be thankful, and then be happy that you have so much to be thankful for.

For me and my family  Thanksgiving is a very special holiday that I have written about in the past. For one thing this holiday is definitely a big part of "My mother's legacy"and I suppose that has a lot to do with why "Today I feel thankful."

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Enjoy the holiday……. and all of your leftovers.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Our circumstances have nothing to do with our happiness

I wrote this more than three years ago and came across it again recently. In today's world, it seemed appropriate to publish it again. I hope you think so too.

Sick or healthy. Rich or poor. Thin or fat. Tall or short. Curly haired or bald. None of it matters when it comes to waking up happy everyday. What does matter is gratitude and perspective.

What makes a man rich? It is not money. There are plenty of poor people – “economically challenged” – that feel wealthy in ways that are beyond their wildest dreams. They are ‘loaded’ with family and friends, rich in experiences, and participate in life like tycoons. They are showered in immeasurable riches of making a difference to someone and to the world in which they live. These are the people whose vocabulary does NOT include phrases like “I will be happy when…”, or I would e happy if…”

These people know that there are two keys to happiness. Those keys are gratitude and perspective and they go hand in hand.

Gratitude comes from the recognition of just how much you already possess. Gratitude is the opposite of taking things for granted. The challenge for most people is that they don’t know what to be grateful for or where gratitude begins. There are hundreds of items on my list. Below are some of my favorites.

1. Eyes to see and read
2. Ears to hear and listen
3. Arms to hold. Hands to touch
4. Mind to think and understand
5. Heart to feel and care
6. Roof overhead & bed to sleep in
7. Food to eat and tongue to taste
8. Friends to care for & care for me
9. Family to love & spend time with
10. All of my good health. (Other than my MS, I have a lot of good health that I don't take for granted.)

These are all items that you can’t buy and that cannot be taken away from you. Even if I lost one of these, say sight or hearing, there is still much to be grateful for.

Recognizing the value of these assets is a matter of perspective. What’s your perspective? Where does your gratitude begin? Just how rich are you? It is my hope that if you are reading this, you are already a very wealthy person.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.