This week we celebrate Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. Historically, it was a day for the early settlers of our land to give thanks for survival in the “new world.” I love this holiday because it has a universal theme. It isn’t dependent on a particular religious or spiritual belief. It’s simply about giving thanks for who you are, what you have, and the blessings you have received.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about all that I am grateful for. There are the obvious things – health, happiness, serenity, a home I love, my partner and the life we have created together, our dogs, my family, and work that I’m passionate about. Yet then I started focusing on the not-so-obvious things – things that, in fact, I might not have expected to be grateful for, yet I am.

There were experiences that, although difficult or painful in the moment, opened new doors of awareness and brought illuminating shifts in perception and understanding. There were unexpected responsibilities that brought hidden gifts. There were unexpected conversations and heart connections that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

There were surprising moments like winning a raffle that I didn’t even realize I had entered! Even where I am and how I will celebrate Thanksgiving Day was not what I would have expected. If you had told me back in April or May that I would celebrate Thanksgiving by being the opening keynote speaker for a leadership conference in Santiago, Chile, I would have thought how could that happen? Yet here I am on my first trip to South America, my first trip to the southern hemisphere.

Each month there is a free community conference call for graduates of the Transformational Presence Leadership and Coaching program. On this month’s call, I invited those who were with us to consider the events and circumstances in their lives for which they were unexpectedly grateful. It was such a beautiful call, in part because so many people from all over the world were expressing gratitude for things that they hadn’t realized until that moment that they were grateful for.

Life is full of unexpected gifts. Sometimes they come in not-so-obvious wrapping. Regardless of what country you live in, I invite you to create your own Thanksgiving Day this week. In whatever way feels right to you, celebrate all of the obvious things that you are grateful for in your life. And then go a little deeper to acknowledge the unexpected gifts that have come your way, and the things that you might not have expected to be grateful for, yet now looking back, you are.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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