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Thanksgiving gratitude

November 23, 2009

by Jenni Sebora

I am currently reading two books which share some sentiment; “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and it’s all small stuff,” which provides “simple ways to keep the little things from taking over your life,” by Richard Carlson, PH.D; and “Tuesdays with Morrie, an old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lesson,” by Mitch Albom.

We know that attitude has probably the largest impact on our lives and our own happiness. Some people choose to look at the glass as half empty versus half full, as they say it.

Carlson tells us in this best- selling self-help book that most of us get caught up in reacting to circumstances and life that don’t serve us well. We tend to overreact, hold on to grudges and those adverse feelings, and focus on the negatives in life.

When we do this, Carlson noted, we tend to immobilize ourselves and lose sight of the bigger picture and actually annoy people who otherwise might help us in this journey of life. Everything seems like an emergency and we then are dealing with drama after drama.

Happily, he continued, there is a much more graceful way to deal with life and all that goes with it. We need to replace reacting (overreacting) to circumstances with new “perspectives.” He calls it taking the path of least resistance. This path will lead to more peace, joy, and calm in our lives.

I truly believe this. Sometimes I do ask myself, when I get caught up in life stressors, “What will this mean a year from now?” And this question helps put things back in perspective.

Because, as Carlson noted, “Don’t sweat the small stuff; it’s all small stuff.” And even when major events occur, we will be much better equipped to deal with them.

In Albom’s book, he tells the story about his former aging professor, Morrie Schwartz, who is dying, not living, with ALS. It is the story of the professor’s journey of death.

Morrie chose to focus on living not dying, and through this journey, he focuses on what he has and not what he is losing while he is dealing with the unforgiving Lou Gehrig’s disease.

This story hit home with me as I watched my mother gradually lose many of her physical capabilities as she was also traveling though the journey of death. But even when she got to the stage of being bedridden, she found love and happiness in her ability to enjoy people around her. What a gift.

One quote has stuck with me that Album quotes in the book about something the professor had told him, “So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

We need to focus on the positives. Count our blessings. Love each other and take the “path of least resistance” and let love and happiness flow.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here’s another easy recipe for Thanksgiving that I am going to try as well, a Thanksgiving cranberry Jell-O salad.

Cook one package cranberries and a two and a half cups water until they pop; add two cups sugar, two small packages of cherry Jell-O (I am going to use cranberry Jell-O that they sell at this time of year), one package miniature marshmallows, and cook five minutes longer, stirring continuously.

Remove from heat; and add one cup diced apples; one cup diced celery, and one cup chopped nuts (which I will eliminate). Refrigerate. Make the night before if possible. (Source: www.aliciasrecipes.com).