Thanksgiving 2014

It's packed into the memory books now.  We're on to left-overs and shopping.  'tis now the season for gifts and giving.  Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday.  Lots of commerce happening in our collective futures.

Sitting here this morning with my coffee, I am struck with how unsettling that message seems.  It's not about the money.  It's about the gifts.  And the best gifts, we all know, are those that money cannot buy.  They are the gifts of time and attention, and most of all, the gift of love.  Gifts that are not always easy to give, but always the most welcome to receive.

Yesterday was a practically perfect Thanksgiving for me.  Bella and I spent it wrapped in the warm and loving home of dear friends.  We feasted on delicious and satisfying foods that fed our bodies and interesting activities and conversation that fed our souls.

Two things occurred towards the end of the day that still sit with me.

My friends heard from a friend of a mutual friend, a 55 year old single woman was found unconscious by a stranger in a store parking lot.  She had experienced a stroke.  She is now hospitalized.  Whatever the future holds for her and those in her circle, it will never be the same.

Later, I received a text from a friend which ended with the words, "I hope you are happy."  I have no doubt that the words were send with sincerity and a genuine hope that my answer was yes.  It is.  For here's what I have learned; as Oprah says, what I know to be true.

Happiness is a choice.  I can choose each and every moment to be happy.  I try very hard, although not always successfully, to choose happiness in whatever situation I find myself in.  I choose to be aware and acknowledge all that I have at any given moment and most importantly, to say thank you for all that I do have.

Does that mean I have all I want?  Heck no!  I have a huge bucket list and like anyone else can muster up a great big huge case of the "gimmies."  I just choose not to focus there.

I choose to live each day as if it were my last because I am keenly aware that I could be that woman.  Each day I do what I can to live out my bucket-list now, because I know that it is only this moment that we have for sure.   I do my best every day and know with certainty that it is enough.  That I am enough.

My focus, very deliberately, is on all that I do have and the gratitude that I feel for all that I have been given.  More than anything else in my life, choosing this focus has changed me.  The daily practice of learning to live in the moment with simple gratitude for what it offers has taught me that I really do have everything I need.  Not everything I want.  Everything I need.  And for that, I am both happy and grateful.

I am blessed.  You are too.