Gratitude, Thankful, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Acceptance

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it’s about gathering and gratitude. I’m in the business of self-reflection and taking time to think about what’s enough seems really important. We are too often frantic; grasping for more stuff to reassure ourselves that we are successful & secure.

Everyone gets some of the pieces of the pie; no one gets them all.

I read an interview with Matt Damon who said Brad Pitt envied his not being in the public eye which Matt attributed to the fact he married a civilian instead of a celebrity.

Everyone struggles in some decade of their life. Some of us get the happy childhood, some of us get to have kids, some of us marry well…………… some of us go decades without finding the right person, some of us miss out on grandchildren, some of us have jobs that are not satisfying and only offer a paycheck, some of us work two jobs and don’t make ends meet, some of us die of cancer at 32.

The best way to appreciate what we do have is to read Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. She won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book award for nonfiction. It’s about a neighborhood that lives on a trash heap near luxury hotels in Mumbai,India. This book is an extraordinary work of art because she helps you see differently.

The last sentence of her book is about a ledge that is dangerous to climb to: “But for now, eleven cans,seven empty water bottles and a wad of aluminum foil rested on a long spit of concrete, awaiting the first child with the courage to claim them.” You close the book understanding how lucky that child will feel with their find.

Accepting the pieces of the pie you don’t get is one of life’s greatest struggles.

Martin Seligman does a lot of research on happiness and he says people who are lucky enough to have gratitude as one of their top character strengths lead happier lives. It’s also one of the basic guiding principles of recovery for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Gratitude is something that should spring into your head at a moments notice. If you were to die next week what would you be grateful for? When we hold hands and go around the table saying what we are thankful for, too often the smell of the food entices us to hurry through our words. So try taking a few minutes when you are overloaded on turkey to answer that for yourself.

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About the Rhoda Mills Sommer

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