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Gratitude: The Secret Happy Drug

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! In our busy world rushing from one season to the next, Thanksgiving is often overlooked as it is squeezed and often hidden between fall sports, Halloween, and Christmas. It's easy to see why this happens. Summer ends and our children rush back to school, attend lessons and practices, and schedules fill up. The temperatures slowly start to drop in the northern hemisphere and with it the leaves start to change color - my favorite time of year. Before we know it, spooky decorations show up on lawns and in stores. Netflix and Amazon Prime movie choices are filled with horror flicks sure to make you keep the lights on all night. Then it seems like right after Halloween, Christmas music fills the airwaves and stores mark down their fall inventory as Frosty the Snowman and Santa figurines and candy fill the shelves. Wait! What about Thanksgiving?

Traditionally it was a meal celebrated among the pilgrims and Native Americans after a bountiful harvest. Today, we don't have to wait for the end of the growing season to eat. Food is plentiful for most of us, as is everything else our hearts desire. There is very little delayed gratification. If one wants something, one only has to go get it or order it. Has this prosperity made us ungrateful? I get it, it's hard to be thankful when there is so much sickness, malice, hate, and destruction in the world. We can't go a day, heck, we can't go fifteen minutes without being bombarded by negativity.

On my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, there was a ton of misery - self-imposed - I was out there by my own choice. Some days I drowned in the yuck of the trail. I despised long-distance hiking so much I had the mantra - One and Done! I couldn't wait to finish and get off the trail. But slowly, I realized dwelling on the misery only made me miserable. So, I began to take joy in the little things. My new tag line became and still is Enjoy the Little Things.

(Daisy Stickers are for sale - they will be on my site soon.)

Once I painstakingly focused on the littlest of things, it became easier and easier to see all the goodness around me. With that, I also became happier, even when things were going bad. Enjoying the little things equates to being grateful. The thesaurus on my phone lists synonyms of grateful as; thankful, indebted, welcome, beholden, and appreciative. When we look at our circumstances through lenses tinted with these attributes we can stifle and even overcome the yuck of the moment. We will feel better. No prescription is needed. No concoction needs to be ingested to alter ones mind. No other stimulus is required. Gratitude is free. Chem free. Gluten free. Dairy free. Alcohol free. Nut free. It's Vegan. And it is available 24/7/365. Gratitude really is the secret happy drug.

My Thanksgiving prayer for you today is 1) For you to enjoy the little things with a grateful heart; whether you are celebrating this holiday alone or with family who drive you nuts. Even if you or a loved one is sick while everyone around you has great health. Even if the weather spoils your plans. Even if you don't have a turkey and all the fixings or if you burned the bird. Even if.....(you fill in the yuck.) 2) Send snail mail thank you notes. Nothing shows kindness more than a handwritten note delivered the old fashioned way. My grandmother would always ask me after my birthday and Christmas if I had written my bread and butter letters yet. To this day, I still write them and think of her.

When the misery creeps in hear my voice - Enjoy the Little Things. Practice this until it becomes second nature and watch joy and happiness fill your world.

Today I would like to give thanks and show my gratitude for something not little, but huge - my hubby. He is the unsung hero to all my adventures. He is the one who helps me reach my goals and dreams while many times putting his on the back burner. He is the one who works hard so I don't have to. I dedicate this post to Bruce "Batman" Leonard. I am forever grateful and thankful that you are in my life. While the Red Sox, Patriots, UMaine hockey, and Halloween crowd out the fourth Thursday in November holiday as we get itching to decorate for Christmas, I will never let my gratitude for you be hidden.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


1 Comment

Nov 23, 2023

You’re going vegan??? 😱

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