21 November 2017      

  

Good day, and welcome to Thanksgiving week here in the States!
It's one of the most important weeks in the year, for we turn our
attention towards thankfulness and appreciation for the many gifts
that we've been given.  We hope that your week is full of many things
to be thankful for, and that you're able to let that gratitude make
your week one of your best weeks ever!

Gratitude
Cherie Carter-Scott

Thanksliving
John Marks Templeton

Redefining
tom walsh

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When I first open my eyes upon the morning meadows and look out upon the beautiful world, I thank God I am alive.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.

Eckhart Tolle

There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.

Ralph H. Blum

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.

Cynthia Ozick

  

Gratitude (an excerpt)
Cherie Carter-Scott

To be grateful means you are thankful for and appreciative of what you have and where you are on your path right now.  Gratitude fills your heart with the joyful feeling of being blessed with many gifts and allows you to fully appreciate everything that arises on your path.  As you strive to keep your focus on the present moment, you can experience the full wonder of "here."

My friend Martin always used to complain about the city of Los Angeles, where he lived for three years while getting his doctorate.  He complained incessantly about the smog, the traffic, and the expensive lifestyle.  Martin was convinced life would be far rosier when he would be able to move to another city.

Within a few weeks of finishing his program and earning his degree, Martin packed his belongings and moved to Boulder.  Within months of his arrival there, he began to complain about the cold weather, the slow pace, and how much difficulty he was having finding a house that was up to his standards.  Suddenly, he regretted that he never appreciated the sunny weather and the exciting lifestyle of Los Angeles.  In my last conversation with Martin, I gently pointed out that perhaps this was an opportunity for him to learn the lesson of gratitude by appreciating the splendor of his new city, rather than focusing on another "there."

Gratitude is a lesson that needs to be reinforced often.  It is too easy to overlook the gifts you have when you focus on those that you hope to obtain, and you diminish the value of where you currently are on your path if you do not pause often to appreciate it.

There are many ways to cultivate gratitude.  Here are just a few suggestions you may wish to try:

*  Imagine what your life would be like if you lost all that you had.  Like George Bailey in the movie It's a Wonderful Life, this will most surely remind you of how much you do appreciate it.

*  Make a list each day of all that you are grateful for, so that you can stay conscious daily of your blessings.  Do this especially when you are feeling as though you have nothing to feel grateful for.  Or spend a few minutes before you go to sleep giving thanks for all that you have.

*  Spend time offering assistance to those who are less fortunate than you, so that you may gain perspective.

*  Look for the gift in each challenging situation.

However you choose to learn gratitude is irrelevant.  What really matters is that you create a space in your consciousness for appreciation for all that you have right now, so that you may live more joyfully in your present moment.
  
  

   

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Thanksliving
John Marks Templeton

Thanksgiving normally centers on things to give thanks for.  This is good and helpful for, as someone once said, "A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things."  The grateful mind is more than simply a response to the condition of things in life; it is a celebration of an ever-present spiritual reality.  This "attitude of gratitude" can open the door to the increased flow of abundance in one's life.  However, a deeper and seldom considered interpretation of thanksgiving can focus on what you have to give thanks from.  This insight deals with the level of consciousness that enables you to see things from a higher perspective.

Thanksgiving is a creative force that, if lived on a continuous basis and not just for one day each year, can create more good in your life.  Perhaps we could call this way of life thanksliving.  Thanksliving is based on the premise that living a life of appreciation and gratefulness leads to having more to be thankful for.  We have the ability to create blessings in our life through the power of mind action and the choices we make.  Let's look at some ways we can choose to practice thanksliving.

First, let's take a look at our life and find the good that is already expressing and praise this good.  An old adage states that "where your attention goes, your energy flows."  This means we tend to attract that to which we give our attention.  A good idea can get even better as its possibilities for greater good are explored.  The more good you can see and praise, the more you direct creative energy to positive results.  Even in situations that at first appear difficult or unpleasant, see all the good you can and bless the good you can see!  Praise the good and watch it multiply.

A second way to experience thanksliving is to give thanks ahead of time for whatever good you desire in your life.  Feel as if you have already received this good.  One law of life can be stated in these words:  "Thoughts held in mind will reproduce in the outer world after their own kind."  In other words, you help create your outer life according to the way you have created your inner life--with thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes.  Thanksliving can help us to create what we want.  Instead of postponing uplifting, satisfied feelings until after the fact, practice experiencing those good feelings now.  If what you desire is a more prosperous lifestyle, start feeling and acting like a grateful and prosperous person today.  Your attitude tends to draw prosperity to you like a magnet.

A third way to experience thanksliving--perhaps the most difficult, yet the most powerful of all--is to give thanks for your problems and challenges.  As you face your situations and overcome them, you grow in strength, wisdom, and compassion.  One of the best ways to learn mathematics is to be given a problem to solve.  One of the best ways to prepare for an athletic event is to practice with a strong, competitive opponent.  An ancient proverb says, "A donkey may carry a heavy load of sandalwood on its back and never know its preciousness--only its weight."  Sometimes people feel the weight of circumstances and lose sight of the precious nature of the many and various gifts of life.  Adversity, when overcome, strengthens you.  So you are giving thanks, not for the problem itself, but for the strength and knowledge that result from the experience.  Giving thanks for this growth ahead of time helps you to grow through--not just go through--any challenges that arise.

  
  

   

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I am grateful for what I am and have.  My thanksgiving is perpetual.
It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite--only
a sense of existence.  My breath is sweet to me.  O how I laugh when
I think of my vague indefinite riches.  No run on my bank can drain it,
for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.

Henry David Thoreau
   

 

Redefining--Let's Not Get Stuck in the Past

Every year at this time we start to see a whole lot of videos about what an awful holiday Thanksgiving is--that it was a holiday to celebrate massacres of Native Americans, that the Pilgrims didn't really have that first celebration with the Wampanoag tribe, that by celebrating the day we're celebrating the killing of Native Americans and the taking of their homelands over the last four centuries.

It is absolutely true that what ended up happening on this continent is a travesty that will go down in history as a series of tragic, cruel, and unjustified events.  If it were up to me, they never would have happened and the people who came here and killed those who were native to the land never would have come, never would have killed anyone.  But it's not up to me, and it's not something that can be changed.  Right now, we're in the year 2017, and we have the decision to make about what Thanksgiving means to us, not what it was about more than a century ago.

And I believe that we've redefined it very well.  When I'm with other people around Thanksgiving time, I find that their focus is almost exclusively on the gratitude that they feel for the people in their lives, for their opportunities, for the things that they have.  I've never met anyone who is thankful this week for the bad things that have happened to other people or for their "victories" over people they don't like or who may stand in their way.

   

Our past may explain why we're suffering but we must not
use it as an excuse to stay in bondage.

Joyce Meyer

   

Thanksgiving now is about keeping in mind the fact that we have many blessings in life--it's not about gratitude that Native Americans were killed so that European immigrants could take over their land.  It's important that we not forget the terrible things that happen so that we can avoid doing the same horrible things in the future and so that someday we can start to provide some of the long-overdue reparations, but it's also important that we remain firmly planted in the present and realize that bringing people together in the spirit of gratitude is one of the most positive and constructive things that we can do in this stressful world of ours.

Reminding ourselves and others of the importance of gratitude is something that we need to do constantly.  In doing so, we keep our perspective healthy and productive and constructive, rather than allowing ourselves to become sick and destructive.  A person who feels gratitude for someone else's service will provide positive feedback to that person, thus helping both of them.  A person who is thankful for his or her gifts in life will be more likely to pass on those gifts to others, thus providing others with more in their own lives to be grateful for.  One who feels gratitude for things like safety, love, and compassion will be more likely to try to provide those things for others, and can definitely help to make our world a safer and more peaceful place, little by little.

    

The past can teach us, nurture us, but it cannot
sustain us. The essence of life is change, and we
must move ever forward or the soul will wither and die.

Susanna Kearsley

    

Should we abolish this day because there were many cruel and heartless people in our country 200, 250, or 300 years ago?  Should we take away one of the most positive days of our entire year because horrible things happened here in our past?  I think that you'll find that every country on this planet has horrible things in their past--people have always been cruel to other people, just as people have always been kind and loving and compassionate towards other people.  Personally, I would hate to lose this day because I strongly feel that asking people to focus on what they're thankful for for a day or two is extremely useful and helpful, both to the individuals and to the communities in which they live.

It's a day on which we focus on others, a day on which we keep in mind that all that we have isn't a result of solely our own efforts, but of the efforts of an entire community--indeed, an entire world.  We are the beneficiaries of the efforts and love and compassion and hard work of many generations of human beings from all over this planet, and we need to keep that in mind if we're to truly appreciate our gifts.  And most of us need a reminder now and again of just how blessed we are--and this holiday helps to remind us to be thankful, and of our responsibility to share our blessings with others.

   

What happened in the past that was painful has a great deal to do with
what we are today, but revisiting this painful past can contribute
little or nothing to what we need to do now.

William Glasser

   
Personally, I would be fine with no longer teaching young people the revisionist history that we've taught and been taught for so long.  I would be fine with teaching about this holiday as a modern holiday dedicated to the concept of gratitude for things like our prosperity, our safety, our connections with each other.  Because it is a different holiday than it used to be.  That wouldn't change the awful aspects of our past, but at least we wouldn't be sugar-coating them and pretending they didn't happen.  And we wouldn't constantly be reminding the Native Americans of just how much their people have lost over the last four hundred years.

There are no perfect answers to anything, of course.  But I know that this Thanksgiving, I'm going to be thankful, and I'm going to share those thanks with others--and I'll start right here, thanking you for being here and being a part of this amazing human race that's living on this amazing planet that we call home.  I really do appreciate your presence.

   
More on the past.

   

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If you concentrate on finding
whatever is good in every
situation, you will discover
that your life will suddenly
be filled with gratitude, a
feeling that nurtures the soul.

Harold Kushner

  
My Thanksgiving
Don Henley

Well, a lot of things have happened

Since the last time we spoke
Some of them are funny
Some of them ain't no joke

And I trust you will forgive me
If I lay it on the line
I always thought you were a friend of mine

And sometimes I think about you
I wonder how you're doing, now
And what you're going through

'Cause the last time I saw you, we were playing with fire
We were loaded with passion and a burning desire
For every breath, for every day of living
And this is my thanksgiving

Now, the trouble with you and me, my friend
Is the trouble with this nation
Too many blessings, too little appreciation

And I know that kind of notion, well, it just ain't cool
So send me back to Sunday school
Because I'm tired of waiting for reason to arrive
And it's too long we've been living these unexamined lives

'Cause I've got great expectations, I've got family and friends
I've got satisfying work, I've got a back that bends
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my thanksgiving

And have you noticed that an angry man
Can only get so far?
Until he reconciles the way he thinks things ought to be
With the way things are

Here in this fragmented world, I still believe
In learning how to give love, how to receive it
And I would not be among those who abuse this privilege
Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge

And I don't mind saying that I, I still love it all
I wallowed in the springtime
Now, I'm welcoming the fall

For every moment of joy, every hour of fear
For every winding road that brought me here
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my thanksgiving

For everyone who helped me start
And for everything that broke my heart
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving
  
  
Giving Thanks
Joanne Shenandoah

In respect to our home, the Earth, we say "Thank You"
to the Earth for everything that she gives to us, nourishing us every day.
We give thanks to all the water in the world, everything within that water.
We give thanks to all the grass that lives on the land.
We give thanks to all the berries, the fruits, the medicines.
We give thanks to the animals that keep the forest clean.
We give thanks to all the trees, for the different uses that they give to us:
for shelters, fires that we make at home at night keeping us warm.
We give thanks to the birds who sing their beautiful songs.
We give thanks to the four winds.
We give thanks to the grandfathers, the ones that bring the rain,
And we give thanks to our oldest brother the sun,
who shines his light every day.
We give thanks to our oldest grandmother the moon, for she is the one who has been charged with the duty to make sure that light has a continuance; she is the one that watches over all the movements of the water, and also the water within us.
We give thanks to the stars her helpers, and we give special thanksgiving to the four sacred beings that watch over the human family.  Sometimes we notice them when we are traveling in dangerous places; they are the ones that come to our minds and say "Go around, don't go any further."
So that's what they're there for:  to protect us, steer us away from danger.
So that's what we do--we start right from the Earth, and we climb a ladder, right to the special place beyond the heavens, where there's a special spirit that lives there, the spirit that made it possible for us to be here, and everything that we've mentioned.  And so with the collectiveness of our minds and hearts, we send a special thanksgiving and greeting to the Great Spirit of us all.

   

These songs honor the Covenant between humankind and the earth with riveting music that masterfully weaves original compositions and powerful messages from the ancient Iroquois prophecy. On this progressive recording Shenandoah's enchanting voice is backed with percussive grooves, vivid string arrangements, and tribal sounds in a modern style that ranges from dance to trance.

   
  

Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion.  Hope without thankfulness
is lacking in fine perception.  Faith without thankfulness lacks strength
and fortitude.  Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed
and limps along the spiritual road.

John Henry Jewett

    

  

   

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