On this most unusual Thanksgiving Day, let us celebrate in some way a day of thankfulness for our family and friends, a day of appreciating our prosperity and all that we have right now, a day of knowing the world is safe, a day of knowing that right where we are, God is, and a day of feeling the Presence of Love so freely and deeply that as we allow It to expand within us and extend through us, for just a day we will fill a world of seeming chaos and conflict with Love’s Unconditional Healing Presence.
We read in A Course in Miracles, “Sink deep into the peace that waits for you beyond the frantic and riotous thoughts and sights and sounds of this insane world.” Because the peace that dwells within us is beyond the frantic fears that currently seem to be making our human experience together a crazy one, gratitude that we are more than we appear to be, grateful that there is always more to see in the world when we open to It, can make every day a Thanksgiving Day. Whenever we choose to, we can sink deeper into the peace that is natural to us, and stay centered there—with our mind clear, our heart open, filled with Grace—no matter what is happening in our life and the world around us. In this way we’ll stay spiritually sane in all our ways as the world recovers from its temporary insanity.
Thích Nhất Hạnh tells us, “We have to learn to live our life as a human being deeply. We need to learn to live each breath deeply, so that we have peace, joy and freedom as we breathe.” It is essential for us to stimulate and cultivate an attitude of gratitude within our self, for our self and the world around us, so that we can live our life as a human being deeply. When we’re appreciating life we are able to hold our self and the world gently in our mind without judgement, and lovingly in our heart without conditions, as we recover our collective sanity by remembering who we are created to be together. When we live with a grateful mind and heart we experience a consistent sense of peaceful well-being that keeps us healthy in our body, happy in our relationships and joyful as the world turns.
Gratitude for our life, and the life around us, helps us to become aware of the exquisite nature of creation. We become aware of how beautifully and perfectly life everywhere, including right where we are, is abundantly sourced and lovingly cared for by the God of all creation. When we feel loved, valued and nurtured by Life. we’re aware that nothing is missing in us or anyone else. In the Book of Luke we read, “Consider the ravens that they do not sow, neither do they reap; there is no inner chamber or granary for them, and God feeds them, Therefore, how much more important are you than the birds?” It’s good question that only we can answer for our self: “How much more important do I feel than the birds, more important, less important, on equal footing web to toe?” As the song goes: “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free. For His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches over me.” How grateful would we be, how happy would we feel, if we believed that that is true, that God is always there for me and you?
The biggest obstacle to our living a full rich life, a life we’re grateful to live, is lack of love for our self that causes us to feel unworthy to live it. Dennis Merritt Jones wrote in The Art of Abundance, “Perhaps the granddaddy of all not-enoughs is shame, as in I am not good enough.” When we live with a lack of appreciation for who are, when we believe we’re not good enough, there doesn’t appear to be enough in the world to please us. When we see our self as born under an unlucky star, or as a Universal “oops,” the flawed one in an otherwise flawless Universe, we don’t appreciate those who seem to have natural good health or a happy, carefree spirit. We resent those who seem to easily attract an abundance of good things into their life, while we struggle to get by. It doesn’t seem fair that their glass is always half full, while ours is always half empty.
That granddaddy of a belief we’re not good enough is born out of the insane idea that in all the Universe we, personally, could be left out, that we’re under valued or not valued at all by a God that feeds the birds, but not us. How crazy is such an idea? How could we exist outside of Infinity? Where would we be when the Source of Life, including our life, fills all space including “our space.” If we’re taking up space right now, the Source is with us, and that is something to be grateful for and celebrate. The author, Alice Walker, wrote “Thank you is the best prayer that anyone could say. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, and understanding.” Though it may not seem so, it isn’t humility that causes us not to feel good enough. It’s arrogance and human self-importance in the face of an Unconditional Universal Love that is everywhere; a Love that would not, because It could not, leave anyone out. Only extreme gratitude and humility allows us to say, even though it may not always seem so, that right where we are, God is. Only extreme gratitude and humility would allow is to accept, “His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches over me. If God weren’t “watching over us” and watching out for us, we would not exist. Even when we feel alone and separate, we aren’t because it isn’t possible. Without God within us, breathing Life through us, there would be no “us.” If God hadn’t said in the beginning, “I am” and then created all that we are, we couldn’t say “I am” right now, even if what follows those words for now are words of ingratitude that we’re not more than we believe our self to be.
Abraham-Hicks tells us “If you are wanting all of those things that you have identified as your desire to come into your experience, it is absolutely imperative that you come to a place of positive vibration, which means You must adore you.” Gratitude is a high positive vibration that causes us to fall in love with our self because the more gratitude we feel within us, the more excited we feel to be us. We appreciate being able to say “I am me” and being able to live in the world as our self. It’s been said, “The people who wonder whether the glass is half full or half empty are missing the point: The glass is refillable.” We can never use up or run out of the Goodness that is ours as the Beloved of God, no matter what we’ve done in the past or how empty we’ve lived our life up until now. We can decide to love our self right now for no other reason than the God that created us is happy He did. We can sink deep into the self-awareness that waits for us beyond the frantic and riotous thoughts in our mind and see the Grace and Beauty there. When we catch a glimpse, even for a moment of beautiful the Truth of who we are, it’s like taking a deep fulfilling drink of Life. The poet, Rumi, wrote “If you knew yourself for even one moment, if you could just glimpse your most beautiful face, maybe you wouldn’t slumber so deeply in that house of clay. Why not move into your house of Joy and shine into every crevice!” When we’re grateful to say today, “I am me,” we stop resenting and regretting the past. We appreciate every step, every person and event that got us here in this now, so that we can shine into every crevice of our life. We can choose to refill our glass with gratitude for “the good and very good” this day. If we do we’ll no longer be worried or fearful about the future because we’ll be aware we’re being fed with Love every moment by Love, Itself.
Gratitude opens our mind and heart to the richness of Love’s Presence above, beneath and within us. We live with a greater awareness of our oneness with the Allness, and we have access to all we need. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar tells us, “When there is Gratitude, there will never be a lack of anything in life.” When we know our glass is refillable, we’re generous because we know our good will never run out. There will never be a lack of anything in our life, including a lack of appreciation. How much gratitude would fill our life every day if we truly knew we could never be excluded from the Richness of Life? How happy would we be if we knew we are free to be, see, do, have, express, and experience anything we desire? How grateful would we be if we truly believed that we get unlimited refills with this human experience we’ve chosen from the the Unlimited Giver of all things, Love, Itself? Gratitude may not increase the number of years in our life on earth, but it will increase the richness of the life we experience while we’re here.
Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. Often on that officially-designated day of giving thanks, many of us traditionally take a moment, as we sit around the table with family and friends, to say aloud to each other what we are thankful for that year. With all the uncertainty that is going on in the world today, this year Thanksgiving Day may be celebrated in a different way. But however we do it, no matter who we’re with or even if we’re alone, let us take a moment to be thankful for what we’ve learned from this extraordinary year, and perhaps begin by being thankful we’re still here to review the year!
This year has challenged so many of us to remain grateful in our life, happy, hopeful, and filled with peace and grace, under circumstances that haven’t occurred in the world before, or at least in our lifetime. Many of those cherished things that in the past we were easily grateful for, or may have even taken for granted, seem to be temporarily locked away from us and unavailable to us. But, perhaps in such a year we’re more able to see that gratitude for our life is a choice we can make under all circumstances. We might even discover there is power and freedom in our ability to be thankful for our life for no other reason than we want to be thankful for it.
Gratitude is a powerful energy, and like all of the creative energies of the Universe, It multiplies as we choose It and use It. The more gratitude we feel, the more grateful we are on a regular basis. And, the more grateful we habitually are, the more to be grateful for comes into our awareness and into our experiences in life. In other words, the more blessed we feel, the more our blessings continue. Mary Oliver wrote in her poem, Instructions for living a life, “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” The more we pay attention, the more aware we become of all there is in this life that is good, beautiful, precious, and worthy of celebration. With that awareness, the powerful energy of our gratitude calls to us more experiences to surprise and delight us. It’s been said, “When Gratitude becomes an essential foundation in our lives, miracles start to appear everywhere.”
As spiritual-vibrational beings of Love even while we’re having this human experience, living in a spiritual-vibrational Universe of Love even while we’re having this human experience, miracles are intended to be natural to us, a consistent phenomena in this human experience. Miracles only seem supernatural, and occasional or not occurring at all, when we feel separate from the Miracle Maker, the High Creative Vibration of Universal Love that creates for us anything heart desires. The Powerful Source Energy of Love in which we live always says ”yes” to us. All that is required of us to experience every day miracles is to believe that’s true. We read in A Course in Miracles, “Miracles are natural. When they do not occur something has gone wrong.” Usually what’s “gone wrong” is that we’re spending our creative energy focusing, with a lack of appreciation, on what appears to have already gone wrong in our life and in the world. We look at what we don’t like that has already happened and we wait, complaining and ungrateful, for something outside of us in the world to change. Or we wait for some supernatural intervention from beyond the world to override our ingratitude and give us something to be grateful for!
We want to believe we are One with God and connected to a Life that is All Good. But without unconditional gratitude, without gratitude that depends on nothing but our choice to feel it, we’re not able to experience our connection with the Oneness that would allow us to live the life of joy and freedom we desire to live—a life free from pain, suffering and sadness, free from conflict with others, and free from financial lack or lack of any kind. Gratitude opens our heart so we’re able to feel our oneness with the powerful Source of Goodness within us, our connection with the goodness around us, and we’re able to experience the miracles that are natural to us.
When ingratitude becomes an essential foundation for our life, miracles can’t appear to us. Anais Nin wrote, “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” Gratitude as a way of being in life causes us to see the beauty within us and around us, beauty that is overlooked if we are walking through this life ungrateful to be alive. Lack of appreciation for our life as it is, and constantly complaining about the way it should be, puts up a barrier between what we want and what we get because our mind and heart aren’t open to receive it.
Being grateful ahead of time, gratitude in advance before we can actually physically see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the thing we want to manifest in our life, is a powerful receptive energy that gives miracles access to our mind so that they can appear to us in our physical life. That is why Jesus began his miraculous healing prayers with the words, “Father, I am grateful that you always hear me.” If we’re waiting to see a miracle first as proof God hears us, then we’re missing the point of faith and trust, and forfeiting the healing power that is available to us when we claim our oneness with God. If we’re waiting for a supernatural occurrence beyond our own mindset of resistance, we are ignoring the Law of Attraction that tells us, as Jesus told us, that it’s done unto us as we believe. Or, as Ernest Holmes suggested, “act as though it were and it shall be.” Let it be and it will be. Gratitude is the powerful vibration within us that is the positive proof of what we believe is true. We could say that gratitude pre-approves miracles. It is a “Thank you, Father, for always hearing me” as we wait patiently, filled with happy trust and gratitude in advance for the answer that is always given in the affirmative, to appear in the physical.
When we’re ungrateful because we haven’t seen yet whatever it is we’re waiting to see so we can be grateful for it, we’re not acting as though it were, we’re reacting as if it weren’t. If we
believe it’s not, it won’t be for us. We can wait for proof before we say, “thank you,” but what’s done for us is done according to what we believe is true before it appears to us. Gratitude allows whatever we desire to receive to come to us, as the Law of Attraction matches our high spiritual expectations, and moment to moment appreciations, with perfect physical manifestations.
We all feel unhappy at times. We all think unjoyful thoughts at times. But it’s only when we make those thoughts and feelings a lifestyle choice that something goes “wrong.” We can to continue the negative energy of unhappy thinking that causes low energy in our body, if we want to. We can continue to reap the ingratitude we sow, and no one is going to stop us. But, if we want every day miracles to flow into our experience, we might want to choose to look around us and act “as though it were” that right where we are something astonishing is present for us to be grateful for. And, if we don’t see something right away, just being thankful we’re still breathing is a good start that will open our heart.
In the Book of Proverbs we read, “A happy heart is good medicine, and a joyful mind causes healing. But a broken spirit dries up the bones.” No wonder it’s been said that being in love with life is the key to eternal youth! If it seems we’ve been experiencing one physical challenge after another, if our bones feel “a little dry” and inflexible, a happy heart is highly recommended! A Happy Heart causes us to feel alive at any age, and more flexible in our thinking. Happiness is an elixir that gives us a sense that everything is okay, that no matter what may be going on in our body or the situations around us, we can trust that a healing is on its way. A happy heart can beat with joy under any physical conditions, and with every beat cause any condition to improve, heal, and not return. We can choose to live, even in the world today, with a “thank you” on our lips and happiness in our heart. A happy heart is good medicine that allows every day miracles to flow our way.
It is likely that all of us, at some point in our life, have experienced the Power of Gratitude. We felt an energy of appreciation so strong within us that, if only for a moment, we had no doubt we were connected with someone or something outside of our self. The experience of Gratitude causes our inner self and the outer experience we’re having with someone or something to reveal itself as One Thing. And, even though that feeling may not have lasted long, the memory of it—that clear awareness we’re not alone, isolated inside a physical body and separate from the rest of life—still remains within us because it is the Truth of who we are. We say we are One Life together, but without Gratitude for the Life within us and the Life around us, we are unable to experience the fullness of that Oneness.
In A Course of Love we read, “The world does not exist apart from you, and so you must realize your compassionate connection.” Gratitude helps us to realize our compassionate connection with all that lives. How? Gratitude makes Its home in our heart. It’s been said that if we want know It’s there: “Take a deep breath, listen to your heart. It feels like having a hug from the inside.” The Gratitude in our heart connects us with the world because It bypasses the judgments of the mind that so often keep us from appreciating the world and wanting to give it a hug. Gratitude gives us a loving, open-hearted interest in others. We care that they are there! And, in those moments, It dissolves our sense of separation. We love others as our Self because we realize in those gracious moments that we share the same Life. There is Joy in the conscious connection Gratitude causes us to experience. And, in that Joy we discover more and more in the world to be grateful for.
The prolific writer and Benedictine Monk, David Steindl-Rast, wrote in his book, Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer, “The root of joy is gratefulness. It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” Gratitude is the key to our soul. It opens us to Life. It lets us experience Life in the way we are created to experience It because our soul is the very creation of the Joy, Love and Peace of God. Gratitude causes us to become aware of who we are and what Life is, and to feel joyful, loving and peaceful within It. Gratitude is a connective Force that, like Love, extends our Spirit into the world around us. When we are enthusiastic and passionate about Life, we feel so good we want more and more positive interaction with the world. We want to get out in it, to show up and feel a part of this human experience we’re all having. When we live in Gratitude, we wake up and feel like that moment is the most precious gift we’ve ever been given. And it is…every time. Waking up never gets old!
If living in Gratitude and appreciation can do so much to enrich our life, and if we’ve all felt Its powerful connective energy within us, we may wonder why we don’t choose to feel It more often. Sometimes it’s lack of appreciation for our differences and diversity, even within our own family. Sometimes it’s ingratitude for the way we believe life is treating us. But, most often lack of appreciation and ingratitude are habits. We are so pre-occupied thinking about the things we don’t like, the people, conditions and situations we don’t appreciate, and we are so full of negative images in our mind and negative energy in our body, we don’t even consider Gratitude for our life an option.
Whether the election result was an “OMG” or “WTF” experience for us, it’s time for us to begin to heal together, to stop complaining about one another and choose to feel the Gratitude, for our country and everyone in it, that will improve our collective environment. Abraham-Hicks tells us, “Most people don’t realize that as they continue to find things to complain about, they disallow their own physical well-being. Many do not realize that before they were complaining about an aching body or a chronic disease, they were complaining about many other things first. It doesn’t matter if the object of your complaint is about someone you are angry with, behavior in others you believe is wrong, or something wrong with your own physical body, complaining is complaining and it disallows improvement.” We can’t complain about our life and improve our life at the same time.
Gratitude overrides arrogance, self righteousness, resentment, and blame, and fills us with happy enthusiasm. We’re filled with hope for a better future, and grateful for each moment as it unfolds from our happy heart. Our mind becomes full of positive images and our body becomes full of positive energy that causes us to improve physically, mentally and emotionally. As we improve within us, we become part of the solution for improvements in the world. Gratitude is transformative. When we feel It, the world changes before our eyes because we see the world differently. When our heart is full of Gratitude, our mind naturally gravitates to thoughts that become words and inspire actions that reveal our compassionate connection with all of life. We begin to notice there is so much more about us and the world around us to be thankful for than we’d imagined before.
Every living being, with perhaps the only exception being human beings, is in love with its own life. Where in Nature, besides in human nature, does creation complain about being created? Of the animals of our planet, Abraham-Hicks tells us, “They focus in the moment. They are eternally looking for the positive aspects, and they are gloriously oozing positive emotion, which adds to the balance of your Universe.” For example, a gazelle doesn’t go around complaining that a cheetah was created to run faster than it can and has an appetite for gazelles. When it’s among its herd, it peacefully grazes, and moves with strength and playfulness. It enjoys its “gazelleness,” and even without a mirror it seems to appreciate the beauty of its own life. How many of us ooze with positive emotion because we’re full of appreciation for the beauty of our own life? How often do we look for positive aspects about self and others? How often, instead, do we spend time worrying that something, like a virus, can outrun us and is out to get us?
We live in such fear for our life that we don’t enjoy living our life. And if we’re not enjoying our life, what are we protecting? Complaining is born of the fear we are powerless over how we experience life. It doesn’t matter what our complaint is about, and it doesn’t matter what our fear is about, fear is fear and it disallows improvement. The beautiful Persian Poet, Hafez, wrote “Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.” Because we are spiritual-vibrational energy beings, we create the conditions we live in. In each moment we’re “oozing” something with our thoughts and emotions. Gratitude, and a peaceful trust in Life, causes us to ooze positive emotion. It allows our true nature to pour through us and into the outer experiences of our life. One of the early New Thought teachers and writers, Florence Scovel Shinn, wrote “Gratitude is the law of increase, and complaint is the law of decrease. The game of life is a game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy.” What we put out, we get back, because what we put out is what we attract. Whatever we give our full attention to, whatever energy we let fill our emotions, whatever it is, we’re full of it. And “it” attracts our experiences to us. Whatever we’re full of oozes from within us and into our life as people, conditions and situations we feel grateful or ungrateful for. If we’re not experiencing a life we appreciate outside of us, it’s because we are full of ingratitude inside of us. And, likewise, if we’re experiencing a life we’re grateful for on the outside, it is because we’re full of gratitude inside.
If you peel away all the layers of an onion, at the center you will find emptiness. Peel away all the layers of a human being, and at the center you will find the seed of God. Ram Dass wrote, “Emptiness is not really empty. Emptiness is full of everything. The everything just isn’t manifest.” Each of us is a walking, talking, vibrationally manifesting being with unlimited potential for life expression at the center of our soul. Within us is a space that is untouched and unlimited by the world. We are full of Divine potential because God created us to grow, extend and expand the Universe! If we don’t like what we’re manifesting as the condition of our body, our interactions with others, or our experiences of abundance, and we’d like to make some changes rather than settling for a life we don’t appreciate, we need to peel away, every day, those false beliefs that cover the spaciousness within us and keep us small and fearful. Gratitude is an excellent peeling tool that will help us find that unlimited, unmanifested place of Joy, Peace and Love within us. The seed of God is right where it was placed in the beginning, at the center of each of us. If we’re willing to peel away all we’ve come to know in this world that isn’t so about self and life, we’ll discover there is nothing that we can’t be, see, do, have, experience, and express. Because when it comes to the “emptiness that is everything,” we’re full of It!
Without gratitude for our life we are unable to live life as we’re created to live it, and to experience life as we’re created to experience it. Being grateful we’re alive gives us a passionate curiosity about who we are and why we are. It gives us enthusiasm about the world around us. It connects us with life because we appreciate life. We look upon everything with gratitude, grateful we’re alive to look upon it! Vincent Van Gogh said, “I would rather die of passion than die of boredom.”
Gratitude causes “things to be grateful for” to arise in the field of our awareness. Things to appreciate come forward and fill our senses—the sight of the moon and stars, the fragrance of cut grass and honeysuckle, the taste of water when we’re thirsty or the taste of honey on our tongue, the sound of a cat purring, and the feel of a soft, warm blanket. Gratitude fills up our senses until we’re overflowing with appreciation for being alive. It transforms our experiences of life into experiences we love to live.
Author, Melody Beattie, wrote “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life…It turns what we have into enough and more.” If we’ve been feeling like something is missing in our life, we might want to feel more gratitude for what we already have. Gratitude helps us to see what is there, instead of what isn’t. Without gratitude we don’t notice the good around us, or the good within us, that would cause us to be grateful everyday we’re alive. When we don’t like where we are, or what’s going on in our life, we don’t look for things to appreciate. We look for things to validate our lack of appreciation. And, we will find plenty of them if that’s what we’re looking for.
Every living being, with perhaps the only exception being human beings, is in love with its own life. We, humans, seem to need a reason to be grateful we’re alive, rather than our being alive being the reason. Life is for living as fully as we can. It’s an active event, an experience of happy existence in the world. “Happy” comes when we don’t oppose it. But we won’t attract it to a life we don’t appreciate. Like every attribute of our spirit, gratitude is an inside job. It is something we can only experience for our self. Even if the whole world were grateful we’re alive, unless we are we’ll miss the richness that our being grateful brings to our life. All that is required of us is a heart open to life. Emily Dickinson wrote, “Find ecstasy in life. The mere sense of living is joy enough.”
Deep within all of us, even within the most miserable complainer among us, is an inborn, spirit-driven impulse to live a joyous, fulfilling life. That’s why we feel so grumpy when we’re not! The life within us, the life that got us here in this human experience, wants to live fully through us, as us. We are the One Life being alive. But being grateful we’re alive is a choice, and that choice will make our life on earth either a joy or a struggle. We might want to ask our self: “Is it more important to me for others to feel my pain or to feel my joy? Do I want others to understand my limitations, or do I want to live as free from limitations as I am able to live? It isn’t possible to feel grateful we’re alive and ungrateful at the same time.
How do make the essential shift from painful ingratitude to the pleasure of appreciation? Joseph Campbell wrote, “Find a place inside where there is joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” No matter what we learned as we were growing up about the difficulties and hardships of life. At this point in our life are we willing to settle for struggling to make ends meet, even if what we’re doing to make them meet is done without joy, just so we can pay our bills and die debt free? Do we really believe that an All-Powerful Creator, the Unlimited Sacred Source Energy of Life, would cause such a limited human experience to be the purpose of life on earth? And, if we don’t believe that, do we believe it’s just us who has been left out? When we insist on being an exception in a Universe of Unlimited Joy, and we are convinced that the Powerful Source Energy of Life isn’t sourcing us with anything that would cause us to be grateful we’re alive, we forfeit the amazing opportunity of a joyous life on Earth. Gratitude opens our heart to the blissful Energy of Universe in which we live. It causes us to “sense that living life is joy enough.”
Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, “Every morning when we wake up we have twenty-four brand new hours to live. What a precious gift! We have the capacity to live in a way that these twenty-four hours will bring peace, joy and happiness to ourselves and others.” Gratitude is the attitude that will get us there no matter where we want to go or where we seem to be now. We can live as expansive a life as we choose to live because we have an Unlimited Source that supports us. We’re free to double our pleasure and double our fun whenever we choose to!
When we were children, especially when we were teenagers, and we got in trouble for something or were disappointed about something, we might have said to our parents, “I didn’t ask to be born!” Some of us may still believe that’s true. But, it’s not essential whether we believe we came into this world through intention, or we believe that our being here is an accident or the choice of two people who didn’t ask us first. If we’re still here having this human experience, if we took that first breath, and the one after that and the one after that, and we are breathing still, with so many ways everyday to leave this world, if we didn’t want to be here, we wouldn’t be. That is how powerful intention is, even when we’re unaware of our intentions. All of us in this moment intend to be alive. But the question is: Are we grateful that we are?
Ernest Holmes wrote in the 1951 issue of Science of Mind Magazine, “It is a great mistake to feel that everything is all over, and that our future is already lived in the past. Everyone stands at the doorway of limitless opportunity, for the world of the future will be created and molded out of the will, the imagination and the feeling of the present.” It is important for us to notice what we’re thinking, imagining, and feeling in the present moment. Through our mood and attitude in the moments of our life, each of us is molding the future, not just for our self, but for the world because together we are the world. It would seem almost selfish, then, for us not to try to live as full a life as we can, grateful we’re alive to live it!