Considering Love, Gratitude and Generosity

Jeff Witman, Collier Township Parks & Recreation

“When I started counting my blessings my whole life turned around.” Willie Nelson

The essence of love, for me, is when you realize that you care about someone or something to the extent that their joys/their sorrows feel like your own. You’re truly excited at their accomplishments; you’re deeply distressed by their setbacks. They are part of you and you are part of them. Two powerful ways we can demonstrate love are gratitude and generosity.

Thanksgiving is not the only day of the year when gratitude is important! It’s needed every day and it contributes to our mental and physical health as well as to the quality of our relationships. Consider making the following a part of your routine:

Keep A Gratitude Journal: On a weekly basis write down the things you were thankful for. You might also include challenges/obstacles/tough situations you were able to get through.

Write a Thank- You Card or Letter: Acknowledge someone who you appreciate. Let them know what they mean to you. Here’s a way to do this:

Let Them Know!

In the spirit of the thought from Albert Sweitzer below consider the impact others have had upon you and say thanks.

“At times our light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has to pause to think with gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

Now put some action into those thoughts. Consider who lit the flame for you in regard to one or more of your interests (your faith, your work, a special hobby, your politics, etc.). Write or call and say thanks including specifics of how they inspired you. If the person has passed do something that would make them smile.

Three Good Things: At the end of the day think of three things that went well for you that day.

What Went Well: Replace the traditional program/event critique of “wrongs” to considering “rights” and how we can repeat them in the future.

Catch People Doing Something Right: Be intentional about identifying what those around you are doing that deserves recognition and give it to them!

Dollars donated is not the only measure of generosity. Consider how people and organizations can benefit from your time and your talent. These gifts often transcend monetary ones in their impact on others and on you. Here’s a way to approach this:

Showing Some Love

Consider the loves of your life and how you can show them some love. Include a person, an organization/group and a place and be specific about what your gift to them will be.

Love is often depicted as difficult to describe but Mother Teresa gave a thoughtful frame when she said “Love begins at home, and it’s not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.” She also explained “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Get busy!

Fewer toys, more joys. Consider your time and talent not just your wallet in extending love, gratitude and generosity to others.

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