STRENGTH & FOCUS: Gratitude is giving thanks more than once a year
In a few days, you’ll probably surround yourself with good company, exchanging fond memories and stories with loved ones, and offering a brief word of thanks before digging into a king’s feast of assorted delights.
But there are other activities!
Maybe you’ll start the day by watching a parade, or you may even find yourself yelling at (or “projecting your voice,” as my father calls it) the epicenter of holiday entertainment as your favorite team – real and fantasy – racks up points, all in the name of being able to taunt your friends that your colorfully numbered shirt is better than theirs. Sound about right? I know I will be! Well, minus that last part, but that’s another story.
As I stated in the opening, at some point you’ll most likely sit down and give a short thanks and then pass the torch to the next person so that they can recycle the same, “Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub!” offering. I’m sure good old Aunt Pearl will say she’s grateful for her health, and Grandpa Lou will top everyone by saying he’s grateful for another year together, but at that point, who’s really listening? We only have to last through one more statement of thanks and then it’s food, food, glorious fooooood!
By now, hopefully you’re smiling as you realize I chose to start with a slightly humorous approach to this week’s article. This column is intended to give Strength & Focus by providing positive messages, inspiring words, and including information relating to mind and body awareness, but what good is all that information if we can’t sit back and enjoy life, wearing a big smile and feeling true gratitude for our many blessings?
Think about it. You’re reading this column featured on NEPA Scene, which is an online publication. That means you have a computer or smartphone (most likely both) with Internet capabilities. Are you grateful for that? Maybe you’re reading this in the comfort of your warm home or possibly while you’re at work (don’t worry, I won’t tell your boss), and maybe you have a delicious snack or tasty beverage within arm’s reach. Wow! House, heat, job, income, food, electricity – yikes! That last one was a sneak attack!
The point I’m trying to make is this: BE GRATEFUL.
Not because I’m telling you to be grateful and not because it’s a holiday, but because you truly acknowledge your blessings and really are thankful for all that you have in life. Whether you are a believer in the law of attraction or not, being thankful really does have an effect on our lives and well-being. We begin to see all of the things we have, and we begin to recognize new blessings as they come our way. By giving thanks, we open ourselves and welcome new and brighter opportunities into our lives.
Now here is the interesting part! If you absolutely accept this idea of experiencing and feeling genuine gratitude, you’ll begin to notice a shift in your true self. By accepting your blessings and being thankful, you’ll begin to feel a vibrant inner joy, a joy which radiates from the core, and you’ll want others to experience this same joy. And how will you share this with others?
Giving positive words. Giving hugs and kisses to loved ones. Giving a high five to a child for a job well done. Giving appreciation and thanks for being in each other’s lives. It’s so easy. It’s so simple. And it’s something that can be done easily and effortlessly by everyone, every day.
Here’s a powerful video by comedian Michael Jr. explaining the shift he felt and his new approach while being on stage:
Giving can take many shapes and forms. It can come from the heart, as with words or affection, and it can also come by giving unto those less fortunate, such as donating items to a food or clothing drive. For instance, this Wednesday, my music crew Sector One will celebrate our 10th anniversary at The Other Side (119 S. Main st., Wilkes-Barre). We’ll be working alongside the event organizers of the club to host a clothing drive, accepting winter clothes such as coats, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, etc., that will be distributed directly to those who need them. Similarly, many church groups, community organizations, and the Boy and Girl Scouts host canned food drives for local families.
Giving can also take form by supporting members of our community. Sure, big businesses can offer deals, coupons, and 80 percent off everything on the shelf, but doesn’t it feel so much better to support your neighborhood business owner?
Attending events like Holiday on the Square, which is organized by ScrantonMade, is a great way to benefit local artists, crafters, and vendors. Holiday on the Square will be held Saturday, Dec. 5 and Sunday, Dec. 6 on Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton.
Another great local program that benefits local shop owners and offers fantastic benefits is the Achieve with Us Perk Card fundraising campaign by The Arc of Luzerne County. The purchase of this card will allow its holder to receive discounts to a variety of local businesses for a full year.
These are just three examples of local organizations supporting each other and the members of our community; and there are many, many more groups and individuals making contributions in their own way. These groups welcome item and monetary donations as well as volunteers to ensure the success of their programs.
In closing, I’ll end the way I began. This holiday season as you sit around the table with family and friends, I’ll ask you to look around and appreciate all that you have. Appreciate the people in your life, your home, luxuries, food, clothing – everything – and be grateful. Express gratitude for your many gifts and blessings whether in thought, writing, or by talking and communicating with those who are most special. And when you have the opportunity, please share and give unto others.
Give a kind word.
Give a hug.
Give a high-five.
Give a genuine word of thanks.
Give a dollar to a person in need.
Give a sweater or coat to someone outside.
Give your businesses to a shop owner who will be grateful.
Give someone the opportunity to smile.
Give it a try and see what happens!
I think you’ll experience, as I have, that the more you give, the more you open yourself to receiving. Please share this with someone who would appreciate the message.
by Rich Perry
Rich is a Master Coach of NLP, consultant, speaker, musician, trainer, student of life, and an all-around great guy. He also claims to make the most amazing hummus in the universe.