Here it is, Thanksgiving again. I love Thanksgiving because it brings back a lot of great childhood memories — turkey, giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, five or six desserts … the Packers and Lions doing battle on our black-and-white television set … snow flurries … the long weekend … and, best of all, family.
Most everyone loves the festive atmosphere of Thanksgiving. The spirit of this gluttonous holiday seems to put everyone in a good mood. (Except for the turkey, of course.) But, like so many of our national holidays, I doubt that many people take the time to reflect on the true purpose of this special day.
When the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621, it was to give thanks for the bountiful harvest reaped by the Plymouth Colony following a severe winter. In modern-day terms, they saw their glass not as half empty, but half full.
In this regard, on Thanksgiving day I also find myself thinking about Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939. If you’re a sports fan, you’ve probably seen footage of that historic speech many times.
The words that most of us remember are when Gehrig said, “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.” What an amazing statement from a person who knew that he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an insidious terminal illness that is now appropriately referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”
With Lou Gehrig’s poignant words in mind, I’d like to share with you something personal that has become a centerpiece of my life. For many years, I have made it a habit to think of every day as a day of thanksgiving by beginning each morning consciously thinking about my blessings. Like the Pilgrims, everyone’s glass is both half empty as well as half full, so I could just as easily choose to think about my misfortunes, but I don’t.
Since every negative carries with it an offsetting positive, and vice versa, you always have a choice as to whether to focus on the abundance or scarcity in your life. I choose abundance because firsthand experience has convinced me that the more you think about the negatives in your life, the more negatives you are likely to attract.
Likewise, if you want more positives in your life, focusing on the positives you already have is a great catalyst for making that happen. You’ll be amazed at the number of new positives that will almost magically make their appearance into your life if you maintain a positive mind-set.
Let me make it clear that there is nothing magical about this phenomenon. On the contrary, it’s quite scientific. What makes it possible is the fact that (1) all atoms are connected and (2) atoms vibrate at tremendous rates of speed.
That’s why, when your thoughts are positive, science works its wonders and causes those vibrating atoms in your brain to draw positive people, things, and circumstances into your life. Because you are connected to a Universal Power Source, you always have infinite power at your disposal. Even if you’re an atheist, you will find that focusing on your blessings is a cathartic way to start each day. Again, it’s a matter of science.
Whenever something “bad” happens, I try to quickly discard the negative aspects of the situation. Then I say to myself, “But … here are the offsetting positives.” Then, I describe those positives to myself in very specific terms.
If I were to make up a list of all the blessings I’ve had during my life — minor, medium, and major blessings — such a list would be in the thousands. I don’t know you personally, but I’m guessing that your list would be about as big as mine.
I realize that it’s not easy to focus on your blessings when faced with a genuine crisis such as a serious health issue, financial upheaval, or a deteriorating marriage. Nevertheless, it’s wise to remember that the more you focus on the adversities in your life, the more adversities you are likely to get.
I don’t have a double-blind study to prove it, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that being thankful for what you have every day of your life is a powerful tonic for the mind. I’m not talking about just speaking the words. I’m talking about thinking the thoughts.
Start each day by celebrating your own version of year-round thanksgiving, and it will change the way you look at life. And, as they say in quantum physics, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!