We are currently in Montpellier, France so we will not be celebrating Thanksgiving this year as we typically do with family and friends. However, we will be filled with the spirit of Gratitude. We are so thankful for all the opportunities this trip has presented to us - the beautiful places we have seen, the kind and wonderful people we have met, and the cultural diversity that we have experienced in the past two months. It’s been truly spectacular and life changing – and with still three weeks left.
A day does not pass when Carla and I don’t share these words with one another in some capacity . . . “we are so grateful that this is our life at this moment.” And we are also grateful for you - our family, our friends, our loved ones, and those who we may not yet know in person, but through our blog have supported our journey. We are grateful for the love . . . and we send it right back to you! Gratitude is an expression of love. It’s why feeling grateful feels so good. It opens our heart and fills it with joy.
I don’t want to sound pollyannish about this. I am keenly aware that the world can be a difficult place. It doesn’t always feel kind or generous, and yet I truly believe that we can always find something to be grateful for. This isn’t meant to be dismissive of those who are struggling. I was inspired this week as I read about the people of a Ukrainian village who reclaimed their town from the Russian invasion. The town looks and feels a bit like a war zone, as you’d expect. It’s now the dead of winter and its very cold, shelter will be difficult to find, and food is scarce. And yet, even with these conditions, the people of this town were jubilant! They had reclaimed their home. That was enough. And even with all the challenges ahead, they felt grateful. And isn’t that really the very essence of Gratitude . . . recognizing that what we have is enough?
I don’t want to disregard the challenges or hardships that we all face, as I’m sure not everyone who is reading this blog at this moment is having a good day, or a good week, or even a good year. We often have less in life than we would like, but I also think it’s fair to say that we typically have more than we regularly acknowledge. If you are reading this article, you either have a computer, smart phone, or tablet in hand and therefore you also have electricity, which means you are warm and can cook and prepare food. While all of this may seem like a very low threshold for happiness, it is far more than what over 700 million people (worldwide) have who live in what we would consider extreme poverty. We don’t often use such a low bar when looking at our own lives, but it creates a helpful perspective and reminds us of what gratitude is all about – recognizing and being thankful for the abundance in our life, materially or otherwise.
There is an old Buddhist proverb that with such simplicity and elegance captures the true spirit of gratitude and of this Thanksgiving holiday . . . “Enough is a Feast.”
Carla and I wish each of you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. May it be filled with love, joy, and gratitude. Much love to you all.
* And a small housekeeping note: Our blog typically posts every Tuesday and Friday, but with Thanksgiving we are taking this Friday off. Thank you for your support and readership and we’ll have more to share next Tuesday!