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Published:November 26th, 2013 15:03 EST
Rethinking Thanks Giving

Rethinking Thanks Giving

By Jay Forte

Take away everything you have; you now have nothing. Imagine this for a moment. Now bring back just the critical things you need. Some food each day. Some kind of shelter. Some clothes to wear. Some social connection to others. Pretty basic. Just the essentials to make it through the day.

Nowhere on this list is the second house, the rooms full of stuff, the refrigerators and cabinets filled with food, the Starbucks` lattes, the imported leather sofa, the widescreen television, the fancy car, restaurants, the soccer teams and dance lessons, the matching coat and gloves, Monday night football, movies, or even school. You don`t need them. They can surely make life better but you don`t need them. I think we have blurred the lines between want and need and until we see the difference, we sometimes find it hard to be grateful " to be thanks giving. "

I am not saying that we shouldn`t go after the things we want in life. Rather, we should just keep the perspective that nothing in life is owed to us. Rather, everything is truly a gift and all gifts deserve gratitude when received.

I, like most of us, can take the things in my life for granted. What if I were more aware of what is in my life and were more grateful for each? For example, I can go to a food store and can choose from a seemingly limitless supply of any food I can think of " available to me in this exact moment. Thank you. I can get in a car and go wherever I need to go without security checkpoints and hassles and in both comfort and safety. Thank you. I can communicate in a moment with friends and family around the globe. Thank you. I can open a book or turn on a computer able to read ideas, recipes, fiction, research and poetry. Thank you. I can decide where and how to spend my next hours and days. Thank you.

Not only should we be grateful but what if were to change how we act to the things in our lives?  For example: There are those who have been hunting for work for extended periods, and those of us with jobs take them for granted by not bringing our A-game to our work. There are those with health challenges who would love a pain-free day, and we take our health for granted by eating unhealthy food and smoking. There are those who miss the people they love ones dearly because their worlds have them far apart, and we take the people in our lives for granted because they are always around.

See everything as a gift. With this attitude, things become more valuable. We treasure our world, our planet, our family and our friends. We appreciate our food, our work, our houses and our health. We find the greatness in life.

Reinvent what thanks giving " means to you and your family - make it about awareness and appreciation. Perhaps as it starts with us, we can then inspire it in others. This is how we can change the world. Happy thanks giving. "