11/16/2011 03:59 pm ET | Updated Jan 16, 2012

For What Are You Truly Thankful?

If truth be told, I wasn't going to write this. But, as "way moves on to way," as the poet said, I did. Got the whole thing polished. Went to hit "send" and instead managed to hit "delete." Oh, dear! Ever been there? Ironic, too, since the story I was telling myself was that you would be too busy to read it, with all the turkey chores to attend, or the tofu to chop, and I would be too taxed to write.

And then, in the midst of this inner diatribe, something else, much stronger than resistance, took over. I could not imagine failing to let you know personally, from me to you, the following. For those who have been here, by my side, since the onset of my time at this writing desk, in what's now called the "Healthy Living" section of The Huffington Post, some four years ago, you see how far we have come. The harvest from those early beginnings on this site has so far exceeded any expectation on my part, (I had very few) that I couldn't live with myself if I did not thank you.

One of the characteristics that make Thanksgiving a favorite holiday of mine is the opportunity to reflect upon and express gratitude. Sure, sure, gratitude is garnering its own "market share" these days. Some would say it's almost a brand. But, if we can pause for a moment, drill down beneath seeing it in this way, there is a means through which to renew our relationship with one of the most intimate of all human experiences. Self-awareness evokes self-expression. The best of these comes from a thankful heart, because to thank someone or receive thanks is to embrace our very wholeness.

Ernest Holmes, one of the prime mover/shakers of the last century in exploring an expanded perspective for the power of the mind, once said: "Becoming aware of what's greater in us, through us, helps us be aware that there is no separation between you and us right where we are." I can think of no more vital time than now, this season of Thanksgiving, to take ourselves off the mute button and air what is in our heart.

Yes, it takes risk. Yes, those who are afraid of expressing their feelings might judge, sneer, scoff. I say, let them. We each get to choose how we wish to live. I choose another path. I say, to choose a life of greater connection, we have the chance to begin where we are, to find that the Principle of Oneness, call it Field Theory, String Theory, Entanglement, or God, the words do not matter. What matters is that we begin anew, today, and risk what's real.

Easy to say. Easy to say "you go first." Easy to play safe, stay blanketed in the comfort zone, high up in the stands and off the playing field. But that would be to miss the moment. So, my friend, allow me to share the following. Think of it as a bit of a warm-up practice. Then, as you open your heart and home to those you cherish, consider expressing your own to them.

1. I am thankful you are here.
2. I am thankful for your patience.
3. I am thankful for your continuing support to write what is so for me.
4. I am thankful for your warm responses.
5. I am thankful for your caring for one another.
6. I am thankful for your refusal to slip into snarky remarks on this site.
7. I am thankful for your encouragement of other readers' journeys.
8. I am thankful for the fact that you demonstrate respect for the way of others.
9. I am thankful for your contribution here.
10. I am thankful for your offering of links/resources.
11. I am thankful for your compassion.
12. I am thankful for your kindness to those you do not know, and those you do.
13. I am thankful for your ideas.
14. I am thankful for your questions.
15. I am thankful for your generosity with me and others here.
16. I am thankful, oh, so thankful, for your humor.
17. I am thankful for your winks.
18. I am thankful you return.
19. I am thankful for your life.
20. I am thankful for your rebellions.
21. I am thankful for your Soul Consciousness.
22. I am thankful you choose the path that is right for you.
23. I am thankful you really listen.
24. I am thankful for your voice.
25. I am thankful for your stance.
26. I am thankful, oh, so thankful, for your attitude.
27. I am thankful for your decision to grow.
28. I am thankful you are a giver.
29. I am thankful you are not into whine fests that go nowhere.
30. I am thankful for your inspiration.
31. I am thankful for your teasing.
32. I am thankful for your pro-active, part- of -the- solution stance.
33. I am thankful for your challenges of you and me.
34. I am thankful for your friendship.
35. I am thankful, so thankful, for the particulars of your story.
36. I am thankful for your courage.
37. I am thankful for your creative spirit.
38. I am thankful for your compassion and kindness, increasingly to yourself, as well!
39. I am thankful to the HuffPost staff who puts up with my nudges and prods.
40. I am thankful for the sunrise this morning, the gift of another day.
41. I am thankful for sunset this evening: the chance for contemplation and reflection on how I have chosen to live.
42. I am thankful to the hummingbird, just now, here in November, who make it to the fifth floor balcony and my winter pansies!

I am thankful, indeed, to Louie Schwartzberg, who made the following Moving Art original short, and to Gary Malkin, whose music inspires me, as does Brother David Steindl-Rast, who narrates this piece as presented at the TED conference, 2009.

I am thankful that their collaboration has made it possible for me to offer it to you and your loved ones, now. I can think of few better "appetizers" for the season. Enjoy it, and pass it along, knowing how grateful I am for you, right here, right now.

Your turn. I'm taking on this commitment for this next year as a gift to myself. What about you? What would life be like if you were willing to let life force move through you with less resistance and greater ease? What will your life be like this time next year, September 2012, if you keep fighting your innermost wisdom? I say, let's find out! Let's make our attendance in the school of life be the best time we've ever known! Let me know. I'm listening and learning from you, my teachers.

For more, see For updates, contact me at, or To save time, click on Become a Fan. Stay tuned for upcoming developments with The Love Project, including "Practicing Love." Follow Dr. Cara Barker on

Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
We’re basically your best friend… with better taste.