Between my scientist and my cousin Donald I realized what "giving thanks" really means. It means looking in someone's eyes until you can see their vibrant colors beneath the chlorophyll, beneath the mask or the bravado or the prickly personality.
Accepting gratitude, the thanks of someone else, even a stranger, lights us up -- it makes us feel good. It helps us, even for a second, to see the light and love that is within us. When we give thanks, we open up spiritually.
You can't find your joy without gratitude! And any time you feel out of joy, all you have to do is flip on your joy switch. Immediately find something for which to be joyful and keep your gratitude glasses on.
People are so busy railing, "You know what really makes me mad?," that they've become complacent to all the services and benefits they enjoy and use on a daily basis. We Americans take our privileged lives for granted.
Loss doesn't always have to be greeted with anger or sadness. In fact, if you greet loss and differences with grace, you might find that you live in a warmer, brighter world than you ever realized. That's how my grandmother saw the world, and she shared the warmth.
We had arrived in America with nothing but rags in our backpacks and a few ounces of gold that my mother had tucked into her money belt. An impoverished aunt took us all in. Soon there were 10 people crowding together in Auntie Lisa's tiny two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco.
Causes of vacancy come in endless iterations and are particularly poignant during the holidays. You may be left staring death in the face. Or, perhaps your loss involves a loved one that lives far away and finances are insufficient to bring them to your door.
The adrenaline rush is over. The long rebuilding and recovery is ahead. The urgency of surviving gives way to the sadness of personal loss and infrastructure devastation and day after day of work. What is the spiritually intelligent response? Here are some of my ideas. I welcome yours.
When you were born, I knew almost nothing about autism. I hadn't taken the idea of independence and remolded it as "autism" yet, only to rework that idea back to its original concept later. I saw you and appreciated you for who I saw you to be: defiant, independent and strong.
There are strategies for cultivating gratitude -- even during times of epic disasters such as Hurricane Sandy. With practice, even under the most difficult circumstances, the ability to be appreciative will strengthen you.
Show gratitude to the people in your life that helped you make it through hard times. Show gratitude when you use something you learned. Show gratitude where you live. This attitude of gratitude can help us help each other, but more importantly, it will help you help yourself.