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What are You Grateful for This ThanksGiving?

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This ThanksGiving November, as I look back on my life within the framework of my goals, vision, commitments and passion, I wonder about what gives life meaning. Especially in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, I wonder if I have learned how to live life to the fullest. If this were the end of the world as we know it, I wonder what I would say. Two words glare into focus…THANK YOU!!

I’ve lived a wonderful life, for which I’m sincerely grateful. Yes, there have been peaks and troughs. Elation for things that I could change; anger and frustration for those that I couldn’t. Things that I cherished but were fleeting; things that I received but of which I didn’t understand the significance. But the strong and resilient person that I am today has arisen from the flames of what went wrong yesterday, or what didn’t work. Mistakes and setbacks have, paradoxically, enriched my life by bolstering my grit and enhancing my self esteem. In accepting my limitations and shortcomings, I have discovered the true meaning of “self love.” I am now kinder to myself and less self-critical. Becoming aware of the positives in life has set the course of not being a victim anymore.

Learning to dial down on expectation and let go of what I cannot change — the primary negative wedges that stood in the way of manifesting who I am — have helped me slide out of the noose of my habitual anxious self, release negativity, and enjoy the present moment. Every time I endure a hardship, I only have to glance around, and my iceberg of hardships melts away into a puddle of petty, manageable concerns. The understanding that “it could’ve been much worse” is motivation enough to move forward in any situation.

I enjoy challenges as they provide opportunities to explore, learn and grow. Volunteering for various causes over the years has sculpted me into someone who understands life more deeply and appreciates more quickly. My everyday prayer is, “Hope I can contribute more today than I did yesterday.” When it’s late in the day and I’m tired, I sleep well knowing that my efforts have helped make a difference in someone’s life. Here’s a secret: The only reason I began volunteering nearly twelve years ago was to satisfy my own selfish needs and not necessarily to save the world. Shh!

My life experiences, both sweet and tart, have helped turn the graffiti on the walls of my heart into a masterpiece of acceptance and appreciation. I have learned to receive more and resist less. Trying to channel dissatisfaction and anger into something meaningful and productive is an ongoing challenge. The ability to tune in to my inner song has prompted a deep awareness of my own thoughts, words, behaviors and actions, an awareness that helps me make appropriate choices and relevant decisions.

My work is simply an expression of who I am and a reflection of my innermost passions. For that, I will forever owe the Universe a deep debt of gratitude.

So, what are you grateful for this ThanksGiving?

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Author, mom, engineer...trying to live her best life!

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