Practicing Gratitude on Thanksgiving

A buddy of mine of many years, the late Marvin McAfee, who passed at age 87, said no matter how bad things might look at the time, they can always get worse.  I think what Marvin meant was – when it seems bad, take heart, and embrace the devil you know.  In his own way, he was trying to tell this young buck to count my blessings. 

True…things can always get worse. 

I am also of the belief they can get better. 

It is important to take an accounting of your blessings no matter how rough things are.  Give thanks for the good blessings you’ve been handed no matter how small and work on making things better.  Do your best to be strong and overcome the struggles no matter how overwhelming they seem. 

Never, ever give up. 

Whenever I ask myself how I may help others, paying it forward, the blessings open up and I feel more optimistic about life. I’ve found I get exactly what I project.  If I perceive things are going to get worse—the universe “hears” my pessimism and rewards me accordingly. 

Things get worse. 

By contrast, project the positive and believe in better things and you will learn the value—the energy—of positive thoughts and beliefs.

You will be rewarded.

Thanksgiving is an opportunity to give thanks for our good blessings.  Never miss the chance to give thanks, clasp hands, and open your mind to the miracles all around us.  They really do happen every day all around the world—they just don’t always happen for everyone.  I am not a religious man.  However, I do believe in “God” and the endless energy of that belief—the power of belief and faith. 

This is not about religion.  I speak of the universe that gave each of us life.  We didn’t just happen.  I don’t believe we come from nothing and I don’t believe we just die and that’s it.  We are all an integral part of a greater energy than we will ever understand because we are not supposed to understand why we are here.  

This is why faith in our creator is so important.

Each morning, I awaken and say— “Thank You, Father…”  It is my way of thanking the cosmos for the life I’ve been handed.  Behold the sunrise, the sweet aroma in the cool air, the dog licking my face, my son telling me he loves me, a friend reaching out to check on me—endless reminders that I am alive and loved.  Still alive to give back and to help others—the grand opportunity to pay it forward. 

If you are feeling emotional or physical pain, it is a reminder you are still alive to feel.  By the same token, you are also alive to feel the euphoria—the pleasure.  When you’re amid the pain, it is impossible to feel optimistic about anything.  You then need to slowly vector toward the pleasure in baby steps.  Find reasons to keep on keeping on.  Pay attention to the love you have from others.  Count on setbacks—those bad days where it’s hard to even want to be alive. 

Fake it until you make it—and you will get it. 

Walk the walk of optimism and avoid the pessimists.  Close your ears to anything that’s going to drag you down.  I speak from experiences because I was raised in perpetual doom and gloom—“Oh my goodness, I don’t know what you’re ever going to do…”  Optimism and gratitude take work—real work—where you must keep pressing toward the mark regardless of how tough things are.  If you’re suffering from a terminal illness or have lost a loved one, you have to find the means to keep going—and remember there are those who love and need you.  They need you to be positive and alive.    

As we crest yet another Thanksgiving holiday, rejoice in the loved one’s around you.  If you are feeling very much alone, go where people are and be a part of it.  Ask what you can do to give back and marvel at what will come back to you.    

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