Thanksgiving is a holiday viewed in many different ways by Americans.  A quick perusing through social media this morning shows this.  A day off work.  Extra time on the couch to watch football and the parade.  Enjoying a decadent meal.  Black Friday discounts.  Dreaded time with family that doesn’t share the same political beliefs.

For me, Thanksgiving is a day to focus on gratitude.  This is a time of year where I like to reflect on everything in my life with appreciation.  I have a beautiful apartment in the greatest city in the U.S.  I have a job that provides for a comfortable and satisfying lifestyle.  I have friends and family that are supportive and loving, and are about the most interesting people I’ve ever met.  I also have a great big turkey in the oven, which I’ll be sharing this evening with my neighbors and friends over Thanksgiving dinner.  This is an attitude I try to carry with me every day.  Sometimes, that can be really hard.  It’s good to have a day like today to center my energy and refocus.  Without gratitude, life will always feel incomplete.

Instead of being grateful for the four-day weekend, be grateful for a job that provides for you.  Be grateful for the feast you enjoy today, and for every meal you eat, as so many people in our own communities do not have enough to eat.  If you go to a store or restaurant this weekend, show those employees an abundance of kindness and respect.  Remember that they are sacrificing their time with loved ones to serve your wants.  Put aside your petty differences, and be grateful for the people you call family.  None of us would be who we are without those from whom we came.  Most importantly, be grateful for those simple, seemingly insignificant moments that fill our days.  These are the events that will pass us by if we don’t pay attention, but will offer us so much beauty and wisdom if we open our hearts.

Every evening when I watch the sun set over DTLA from my office window, I am grateful for the incredible display of beauty provided by nature.

Every evening when I watch the sun set over DTLA from my office window, I am grateful for the incredible display of beauty provided by nature.

If your current situation doesn’t leave much room for gratitude, appreciate the fact that tomorrow is a new day with a chance to start fresh.  For as long as we wake up in the morning, there is always something to appreciate.  There is so much to look forward to in the days ahead of us, things greater than anyone can imagine.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  May your day be filled with gratitude and love.

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