Author: Campbell, Bruce

Thanks All Around, Free and Easy

I think Ive said this before I love having the Welcome Message on Wednesdays, because that means I get the column on the day before Thanksgiving each year. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, by a long shot.

The reason is, Thanksgiving involves the most simple, purest celebration of life and family a feast. Its a holiday steeped in optimism, which appeals to me. Its based on the premise that at least once a year, regardless of your political or religious views, your current income, your current employment status, even your current health, you can take a day to give thanks.

The world has so much suffering. At one time or another, we will all suffer. But the other side of the coin is, at any given point, its possible to focus instead on the positive things, and theres always something to be thankful for. For those of us who enjoy aconsistently comfortable standard of living, its not too hard to recite the things for which were thankful.

For others, its more difficult. But with encouragement from friends, relatives, and even kindly strangers, anyone can find a silver lining in their cloud and be thankful. And optimism is powerful medicine. It allows us to disengage from the things that worry us or give us pain if only for a brief period -- and concentrate our energy on the positives.

The sun that warms our bones is free to all of us as is the smell of the grass, a pine tree, and the sound of a babbling brook or, yes, a fiddle! Our first need, said Abraham Maslow, is for the basics of life air to breathe and some food in our bellies. So we make a feast to set the wheels of optimism in motion. Depending on our means, the feast may be over-the-top, or modest, but we partake and enjoy good food with loved ones.

Being in the company of friends and family fulfills the need for security and companionship. Now the sun feels even better, and the pine trees smell sweeter, and now, even a banjo sounds good!

I have a great deal to be thankful for a large, loving family, a cherished circle of friends, and a deep association with a group of people dedicated to the finer things in life food, community, charity, music, and art. I am also thankful to have known some amazing people who had the courage to be thankful when external circumstance would seem to make this impossible it shows me that courage is limitless, and anything is possible. It also tells me that gratitude given enriches your soul - a feast for your karma, if I may wax so philosophical.

Enough jabbering, I can smell the turkey browning and I hear the football game on the television. I think my pal Mac needs a refill on his Scotch. Gotta run happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Posted:  11/21/2012

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