How to Experience the Spirit of Thanksgiving

Experience Thanksgiving

 

Close your eyes.

Well, not yet, or you won’t know what I’m asking.

I want you to remember Thanksgiving dinner as it was in your childhood. If you’re not from the United States, or you didn’t celebrate the holiday, then you may need to suspend reality and make it up. If you had awful Thanksgivings, you may want to imagine the one you wanted.

Okay, try it. Now close your eyes and imagine early Thanksgiving dinners in your home.

 

“Thanksgiving opens the windows of opportunity for ideas to flow your way.” -Jim Rohn

 

When I think about the Thanksgiving of my childhood…

The laughter permeates the room. My sister’s voice is unmistakable, but I can’t hear what she’s saying. My brother is playing the piano, not the classical pieces his teacher wants him to play, but some rock song. My other sisters are playing a game. The TV is on in the living room. There are a few friends visiting and, as often is the case, a few that have nowhere else to go.

Our home, I’ve decided, was built on a secret geological magnetic force. Perhaps that’s why the military has testing grounds nearby. It must be some top-secret location because the magnet attracts all sorts of people to our home. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to who. Not the same age. Gender. Race. I suppose that one commonality is that they are all searching to belong somewhere, anywhere.

Well, look no further. We accept everyone. No judgment. Perhaps we will judge you if you don’t eat, drink, and laugh with us.

It’s rare that I’m so silent. I’m not usually an observer here, but a full-on participant. I guess when you’re imagining everything, then you aren’t watching yourself. This little exercise has me thinking, though, about many things in my past. I personally choose to think about the positive. Any negativity is something I choose to erase. Or, better yet, like an old cassette tape, I just record right over it.

As I open my eyes, I’m transported back to today.

How do you experience the spirit of Thanksgiving? How do you get all the lessons you can from the time with your family?

I think of 3 things: let go, fill up, give away:

LET GO.

Let go of the negative. Most of the gratitude exercises I read about don’t start here, but this is what works for me. I can’t be grateful for something if the voice in my head is whining about something else. Literally I imagine things disappearing, minimizing, or flying away.

Know that any negative experiences of the past happened for a reason: to build character, to make you who you are, or for you to just realize how things are better now.

 

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.” -Hermann Hesse

 

FILL UP.

The Secret Success Lesson I Learned from a Total Stranger

Be Thankful In Advance

 

“Thank God in advance for what’s already yours.” –Denzel Washington

 

Around Thanksgiving, we often ask each other, “What are you most thankful for this year?”

Over the years, I’ve heard many answers to that question. I remember one man, years ago, who was sitting at a lunch counter next to me. I was waiting for a to-go order. Now, I won’t call him old, but at the time, I was maybe 20, and he was many years my senior. His face was lined, his hair as white as it could possibly be, and his eyes had a look of mischief mixed with wisdom. It was a few days before Thanksgiving.

I asked him the question as a conversation-starter, and he nodded, a demonstration he was processing.

“I’m most thankful for my business success next year. Growing faster than ever. Having to hire more people to help with the growth. And the expansion to another location. That was more than I expected.”

The place was getting louder. Clearly I heard him wrong, so I clarified.

“You mean this year.”

“No, next year.”

“You’re thankful for opening another location for your business next year?”

“Yes, definitely. It’s even more successful than our first location.”

I didn’t even know what business he was in, but I was beginning to think he was losing some of his mental faculties.

Until he continued….

“See, I’m thankful for what’s happening next year. I am so thankful. I think about the people who made it happen, and I think about the results. I spend a lot of time thinking about them.”

My sandwich was now ready, so I paid for it and took the change. I thanked the man for sharing.

As I was gathering up my things, he asked me the return question. “What about you, son? What are you most grateful for?”

I remember responding quickly. “You. I’m thankful for you.”

And I was gone.

I don’t recall the sandwich I ate from the restaurant. But I sure do remember that conversation. I didn’t realize the power of it then. This gentleman had unlocked a secret. It was visualization with a powerful twist. He not only saw himself achieving his dreams, but he was already thanking people – in advance – for the success.

 

“Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose.” –Bo Bennett

 

Master the Surprising Timing of Gratitude

Gratitude is often the surprising key to success in any venture.

What most of us seem to get wrong is the timing of gratitude. We think the time to be grateful is after. This man taught me that we should be thankful in the first place.

Change the Thanksgiving Equation: Thanks + Giving

Rethink the Order

We celebrate Thanksgiving this week in the United States. It’s a holiday that I love for many reasons.

A tradition in many homes on Thanksgiving is to ask, “What are you most thankful for?”

Growing up, I heard all types of answers from the serious to the hilarious.

The focus on thankfulness and gratitude is a welcome one in a world that’s often negative and draining. It’s impossible to feel entitled when you’re busy thanking those who have made a difference in your life. Expressing thankfulness has numerous benefits from reducing depression to boosting your immune system.

 

“Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.” –Hansa Proverb

 

But today I was thinking about the holiday differently.

Because it’s not only about being thankful and grateful.

The equation, in my way of thinking, is backwards. We often think of it this way:

Giving ⇒ thanks.

We think of Thanksgiving as the time to give thanks. We stop and show appreciation, express gratitude for all that we have in our lives. And that’s good.

But perhaps the equation is supposed to be exactly as stated:

Thanks ⇒ giving

Instead of giving thanks as the end result, it’s the beginning. We should give to others as a result of our thanks. In other words, because of our thankfulness, we are to be giving. Does that way of looking at it change anything?

It does for me. I realize that I can use this opportunity to do more for others.

 

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” -Karl Barth

 

Instead of simply expressing thankfulness, what about getting active in the giving part of this equation? Thanksgiving is not only expressing thankful appreciation but also about paying it forward.

15 Thanksgiving Quotes to Start the Holiday Season

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is here in the United States. Even outside of the USA, you can benefit from a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude. Here are fifteen quotes to get you started:

 

“Thanksgiving Day is a good day to recommit our energies to giving thanks and just giving.” –Amy Grant

 

“Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then they discover once a year is way too often.” –Johnny Carson

 

 

 

“I love Thanksgiving because it’s a holiday that is centered around food and family, two things that are of utmost importance to me.” –Marcus Samuelsson

 

“Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.” –W.J. Cameron

 

“Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They are consumed in 12 minutes. Half-times take 12 minutes. This is not coincidence.” –Erma Bombeck

 

“An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day.” –Irv Kupcient

 

“Thanksgiving Day comes…once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.” –Edward Sandford Martin

 

 

“I like football. It’s a great way to avoid conversation with your family at Thanksgiving.” –Craig Ferguson

28 Appreciation, Gratitude and Thank You Quotes

 

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” –James Allen

 

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” –Alphonse Karr

 

“Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.” Hansa Proverb

 

“The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.” –John E Southard

 

“I feel a very unusual sensation – if it is not indigestion, it must be gratitude.” –Benjamin Disraeli

 

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” –Thornton Wilder

 

Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality. –Alfred Painter

 

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” -Voltaire

 

“The essence of all beautiful art is gratitude.” –Friedrich Nietzche

 

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

 

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” –Dalai Lama

 

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” -Cicero

 

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” –Melody Beattie

 

“It is a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation.” –Roberto Benigni

 

“Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.” –Jacques Maritain

 

“Gratitude isn’t a burdening emotion.” –Loretta Young

 

“Feeling gratitude, and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” –William Arthur Ward

 

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“In everything, give thanks.” -1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy.” –Marcel Proust

 

“Giving is an expression of gratitude for our blessings.” –Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen

 

“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” –William James

 

“Be thankful for what you have and you’ll end up having more.” Oprah Winfrey

 

“Silent gratitude isn’t much to anyone.” Gertrude Stein

 

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” –Henri Frederic Amiel

 

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” –GK Chesteron

 

“If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily.” -Gerald Good

 

“Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.” -Confucius

 

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