Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks – Today

Some may have come to experience Thanksgiving as just another holiday – another unique American cliché. Maybe we all get caught up in shopping at crowded grocery stores, cooking turkeys and side dishes, cleaning volumes of dirty dishes, pots and pans, immersing ourselves in those Black Friday sales circulars, strategizing on how to increase our material storehouse of “things”, and then before we know it the day is done, we are exhausted. Another day here and gone.

But maybe there is another way – maybe this Thanksgiving we can stop, take a look around us, pause to stay “in the moment”, practicing gratitude. The deeper meaning of this day calls out to us – an opportunity to connect to those who are important to us, in our lives – family, friends, soldiers serving overseas, teachers who teach with passion, doctors who save lives, boy scout leaders who continue to touch the lives of young men, neighbors who lend more than just their “cup of sugar”, children who are more than just offspring that we are obligated to raise, partners who are there for us in big and small ways every single day, friends and loved ones who have passed on, the lonely, elderly, feeble and sick who need us. It is no accident that many choose to leave us, voluntarily, around the holidays – it is the time when loneliness can strike most profoundly.

So, today is a day that gives us the opportunity to remember that we can give thanks – verbally and through our actions – whether it be cooking meals for our loved ones, giving hugs, acknowledging the love that others have shown us, expressing gratitude. Here is a thought though – maybe the reason we celebrate this day is simply to remind us that this is a practice we can engage in every single day. Maybe we can choose to take on an attitude of gratitude. In these challenging times, maybe this is the healing thread that can pull us together, underscore our strength as a nation, and create the peace and contentment that seems to elude us. Today many are reaching out – a colleague who is running a 5K for Father Joe and the hungry homeless; a university comptroller who reflects on the children in Nigeria and other 3rd world countries that his family helps to support and gets regular progress updates on; neighbors/friends cooking turkeys for families with cancer stricken mothers and those recently hospitalized; those that are taking time to reflect on how blessed they are to have friends and colleagues that care; veterans who collect for our soldiers serving in an arid desert with lonely families left behind to feel the daily loss. In so many ways we can take Thanksgiving and make it a part of our daily ritual. Scientific studies show giving thanks and expressing gratitude increase our health, happiness and well-being. Love begets love. And so the ripple spreads in the pond of this human race.

Yes, today is Thanksgiving Day – an American tradition, but maybe, just maybe, we can start a tradition of giving thanks every day.

Today and every day, I would like to express gratitude for all I have, all I am and for those friends (human and four-legged ones) who I have, have had and lost touch with, for those who friendship is new and will continue to grow into the future. Please know that you have touched my life irrevocably and my heart and soul are forever changed by your unique presence and participation in my life. I am richer and better for having known you and this will continue for as long as I continue to draw breath and thereafter.

Thank you.

“Every day we have the opportunity to choose an attitude of gratitude”.

If you choose to, please share your thoughts of thankfulness and gratitude.


  1. I try to reflect on all my blessings daily. I think today, just makes it more meaningful in that is it in front of our faces all day, plus the all days leading to today. I'm grateful for my family, my health, those who love me and who I love in return, for little hands that grab my neck and say: "I love you MaMaMa", my friends old and new, my ability to work, my excitement at spending time with the people who mean the most to me. I wish you all a wonderful day to give Thanks for everything you are grateful for.

  2. Each morning my daughter Pema wakes up and dances in our bed. Round and round she whirls singing "dancing, dancing, dancing..." We smile our sleepy selves up and begin to sing our gratitude for Grand Father Sun who climbs the tall mountain of day carrying the heavy burden of heat and light in his pack to make everything we are on this beautiful green glowing earth, grow. It is a small difference for us to begin the day in this way, but somehow orienting ourselves, like every blade of grass and tree in the world, towards that which gives life and breath, reminds me of the blessings that flow from the simple grace of being here in a human body and the exceptional experiences it brings. Thank you Christy for including me in your blog email and for being my sister. I love you and feel deep gratitude for your presence in my life. Angela