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Why Counting Your Blessings is The Most Important Thing You Can Do with Your Life
The very first official Thanksgiving was celebrated in Canada on November 6, 1879. It was at this time, that Parliament passed a law designating this national day of thanksgiving, to celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the prior year. In fact, the indigenous people in Canada celebrated the full harvest, long before the arrival of the European settlers and the actual designation of the day.
As we look at Thanksgiving, over the course of our lives, we might notice the changes in who we celebrated with, what we ate, what town or city we were in and where we were at in our lives. And many of you might have noticed that there was only one constant…yourself. You were there each and every year, hopefully celebrating the harvest of your life, particularly the blessings you experienced in the prior year.
Have you ever been in a bad mood and only seen the areas of your life that were not going well? Of course, you have! This happens to everyone. It’s the way our minds work….unless we train them to do otherwise.
I have a friend who has allowed her mind to always remind her of what was going wrong in her life. And everything was always going wrong in her life. I explained to her that until she decides to stop being a victim, nothing will get better for her. I explained to her that whatever we focus on in our lives is what persists. And I explained that her underlying challenge was that her horrific childhood made her believe that she didn’t deserve anything better in her life. I talked to her about this for years, telling her that one day she will DECIDE that she deserves and wants more for herself. I told her she could stay in this place for as long as she wanted but that one day she would know when the pain was too great to remain where she was.
Recently, she was in a restaurant with a friend when a car came smashing through the window and stopped within a few feet of where she was sitting!!! She contacted me immediately and wanted to discuss the significance of the incident. She determined that her life was spared for a reason. The car came way too close to her without actually hitting her. The next week, she called in desperation because she was confined to her apartment for many days because a sickness she had contracted was contagious. I explained that it was now time to go into quiet contemplation, so that she could DECIDE how she was really going to LIVE her life. I suggested reading and immersing herself in things she loved doing. She did just that.
This Thanksgiving weekend, she told me that she turned down a dinner invitation from a friend who truly did not appreciate her. She shared a meal with her nephew and his son and spent hours in the park together; she thoroughly enjoyed a free Thanksgiving dinner at the community centre; she finished reading a book and has started another one (and this woman doesn’t read!). This Thanksgiving, I celebrate the commencement of her healing; this is a HUGE feat for this 52 year old woman who has hardly spent any time counting her blessings until now.
As for myself, I got to celebrate Thanksgiving with both of my girls. We picked apples that Taylor made into a scrumptious pie. And we had a traditional multi-dish meal with the man and woman, who are the parents I always wanted but never had, until eight years ago! Could I write pages about the things I am grateful for? No question. Is that the number one thing I do that makes me so happy and healthy, despite the challenges I have faced in my life? It absolutely is.
Hoping you had the most delightful Thanksgiving weekend. And if it wasn’t, you know what to do next year at this time.