Thanksgiving Lens

untitledLast year at this time, I wrote a blog about the power of our gratitude lens.  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to share it again, but this time with a twist.

Imagine what the world would look like if we treated each day as a day of Thanksgiving?  While it’s easy to pause and reflect on a given Thursday each year, I invite you to consider giving thanks each and every day.

How can you do this, you might ask?  Try wearing your Thanksgiving Lens, just like Grateful Glenda.

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A very famous man once said, “The lens through which you view the world will greatly affect the quality of your life.”

Okay, he wasn’t famous, nor does he aspire to be.  His goal is very simple.  It’s to be a spark that creates positive, sustainable change in the lives of others.

That man is me and these words will continue to serve as a foundation for everything I teach.

Simply put, life looks a lot different depending on the lens through which you view it.  You see, life is just out there lifing.  We all have similar circumstances.  The single most important factor in determining the quality of our lives is NOT our financial means, but rather the lenses through which we consistently view the world (and ourselves).

Sadly, the default lens for many is what I call the powerless lens.  Some refer to it as having a victim mentality.  Life through a powerless lens is accompanied by feelings of anger, fear, and jealousy, which are a direct result of the quality of our thinking.  While we may appear to have it all together on the outside, our powerless thoughts act as poison on the inside.

The Thanksgiving Lens, on the other hand, is perhaps the single most powerful lens we possess.  Instead of complaining and blaming, our Thanksgiving Lens allows us to be present to what we have, in any given moment.  Instead of giving our power away to a life event, we can choose to maintain our power in spite of what some would say is a bad circumstance.

Below is a poem which illustrates the difference between the two lenses.

Grateful Glenda awoke in the morn, eager to embrace the beauty of everything God has adorned. 

Grumpy Gordon, on the other hand, stumbled out of bed.  Thoughts of despair raced through his head.

During her morning commute, Glenda encountered a traffic jam which seemed to stretch for miles.  Just as a careless driver abruptly cut her off, she couldn’t help but notice the van next to her, where two children sat patiently, waving their tiny hands and beaming with smiles.

Gordon drove into the same traffic on his way to work.  However, he yelled obscenities at the careless driver, who was still jockeying for position.  What a jerk!

Glenda arrived at the office, ten minutes late for an important meeting.  Even though she was greeted with several unwelcome looks, she was grateful for the lone welcome greeting. 

When Gordon finally arrived at work, with a distraught look on his face, he proceeded to inform his cubicle mates about the crazy guy who had turned the traffic jam into a race.

Later in the day, Glenda sat down for lunch, anxious to eat her delicious leftovers from a family brunch.  As she grabbed her banana and began to peel, she thought of the wonderful friends who had prepared the meal. 

As for Gordon, he ate lunch at his desk.  His angry thoughts continued to fester as his mind remained firmly entrenched in the events of his morning mess.   

The end of the day had finally arrived and Glenda was pleased with all she had done.  Despite the difficult circumstances she had faced, she quietly celebrated her choice to be grateful.  She had won.

Gordon sat at his desk, papers stacked to the ceiling.  He thought to himself, “If only the man who cut me off knew how I was feeling.” 

Glenda lay her head down at night and quietly whispered this simple prayer, “God, thank you for giving me the freedom to choose my lens in any given circumstance.  Thank you for the many gifts you bear.” 

Gordon lay down at night, glad to see an end to his horrible day.  Just before he closed his eyes, this is what he said, “I wonder what terrible things will happen tomorrow?  Those cars better stay out of my way.”

As I said, it’s not the circumstances that define us.  It’s the lens through which we choose to see the circumstance.  Take it from Glenda, gratitude works.

I’d like to personally wish each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!  I’m grateful for you.

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