Received a Gaines-Burger from a house full of hippies that lived near our neighborhood (real ones; this was the 60's). If you're not familiar with what a Gaines-Burger is, Google it for a chuckle. Fortunately, I recognized what it was and didn't eat it.
Was jumped by some high school kids near the end of a massive trick-or-treating run and had my nearly full pillowcase full of candy stolen, AND I was knocked into a cactus patch in the process, and had dozens of needles stuck in me. Fortunately, my childhood buddy I went with shared his candy with me (I think he felt guilty because he ran when he figured out what was happening and got away).
The last year I went (6th grade), I was harshly scolded by some old guy that answered the door at one house because I was "too tall to be trick or treating," and he proceeded to give all of the other kids with me candy and made a big show of snubbing me. Admittedly, I was tall for my age (and used to get interrogated at the movies when I was still trying to LEGALLY get in at the child's rate), but still, that incident took the wind out of my sails and I went home shortly after that, with a paltry haul in my bag.
Yes, I know it isn't exactly tragic, but I'm still not ready to give Halloween top billing in this blog; nope, not yet.
Instead, we'll skip it and move to Thanksgiving and in a broader sense, Gratitude. I'd be hard pressed to write anything completely original on it, since numerous books have been written on it. In the New Age/esoteric/metaphysical/spiritual world, it's kind of a big deal.
Therefore, I'm going to keep this simple:
As it ties into the Universal Law of Attraction ("Like attracts Like"), Gratitude can be summed up nicely this way: Sustain feelings of Gratitude sends a distinct message to the Universe, and the Universe responds by sending you more things to be grateful for.
When you are in a foul mood for whatever reason, forcing your mind into a place of Gratitude will instantly raise that mood to something better. This really works. I will do this sometimes begrudgingly if I'm upset and am enjoying (on some level) being upset, just because I know I don't need or want to stay upset for too long.
Filling your mind with grateful thoughts can relax you. If you're really nervous about giving a presentation, a job interview, first date, whatever the reason, make a mental list of the things you're grateful for. See if this doesn't calm you.
If you are fortunate enough to be with friends and/or family this Thanksgiving, don't forget to add that to your list of things you're grateful for. If you are unable to be with loved ones, consider volunteering at a homeless shelter. If you're prone to feeling sorry for yourself because you think you're alone (although you're NOT), you'll find volunteering for those in need to be a humbling experience.
Try starting your day with Gratitude. Some do this the moment they wake up by playing a mental recording of all their blessings while they prep for the day. My mind is often a little too foggy in the morning to give this adequate attention, so what I do instead is wait until I walk outside for the first time each day. I take a deep breath of fresh air and I mentally greet and thank all of the trees where I live. Some of these guys are old and huge, and I thank them for their shade in warm months, for their colors now and in the spring, and (this may sound a little different), for their wisdom. I believe trees, like all living things, have their own consciousness, even though it may be far less evolved than our own (and sometimes I think it may be far MORE evolved than our own). This little ritual takes all of 30 seconds that helps me to start my day in a positive, grateful mood. No, I don't always sustain that feeling throughout my day, but I do try and keep my consciousness pointing towards Gratitude, and it doesn't take a lot of effort.
When you make Gratitude a priority in your daily life, this eventually becomes part of your subconscious belief system, that you are grateful for every situation you face, even the challenging ones. When you look at your challenges as potential Life Lessons, this becomes easier to do, and Gratitude can become a prominent part of who you are.
I encourage you to experiment with this phenomenal mindset; gauge for yourself the extent it can change your life. Start small if you prefer (say hello to YOUR trees!), but give it an honest effort. And as you reap the rewards large and small of Gratitude, as always, remember to take it easy on yourself...