Thursday, November 22, 2007

Reflections on Gratitude

On this eve before Thanksgiving, I find myself reflecting on gratitude. I feel very grateful for the blessings that I have in my life. I live in a state of abundance, especially when compared to most people on the planet. We, as Americans, enjoy so many luxeries and comforts that most people in the world could never even dream of.

As I think back on the early years of my adult life I remember being so broke that I would need to dig through my sofa cushions for money to buy things at the end of each pay period. My Friday nights back then were as follows: A good friend would come over (he was broke too) and we'd cook a 69 cent frozen pizza, make a 2 quart pitcher of apple juice (frozen), watch a rented movie and work on a jigsaw puzzle. Big thrills! It was fun, actually. A simpler time... to be sure.

My brother was sharing tonight that in his first apartment he had a $20 a week food budget. He would go to two different stores each week and buy the exact same thing... a package of 8 hot dogs, a can of tuna, etc. There was no room for error if he was going to get the food he needed in order to survive. As we sat feasting on take out Chinese food, we remembered those 'leaner' days when things were a bit different. Those days had their charm and appeal, but I, for one, am greatful to not eat so much Top Ramen and frozen pizza!

I think it is extremely important to be thankful for what we have and focus more on our blessings than on what we lack. It is human nature to focus on what we don't have and the problems that plague us. It is a universal law, however, that what we focus on will expand and magnify. When we focus on being thankful for what we have, we draw more of what we want to ourselves.

If we focus on our problems and what we lack, we create more of the same. We get more of what we don't want, because we place our attention on it.

Back when I was digging for coins in my sofa cushions, I was doing affirmations about abundance and plenty. I enjoyed my frozen pizzas and apple juice to the fullest. I was visualizing a day when I would no longer have to struggle and strain to make ends meet. That has materialized, but I'm not sure it would have if I'd been bitter about my situation back then. I simply accepted what was... and visualized a different future.

As you move through this holiday season, remember to be greatful for all that you have in your life. Focus on what you want to attract more of. Remember that no matter what your problem or challenge, there are others in this world who have much larger problems facing them. Keep it in perspective.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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