Every Day is Another Chance

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Every day is another chance. Our stories are being written, until that day we fail to rise, we have a chance to make a difference, to influence things for the better, to learn something new, to make mistakes, to correct our path, to entertain a grand new vision or accept what is laid out before us. Nothing is predetermined. Nothing is written in stone.

In the Gorham Cave in Gibraltar excavations are on going and discoveries are being made. The last dated Neanderthal populations lived and died in these caverns. According to a BBC article much is being discovered about how these resilient peoples fared towards the end of the line. Climate change drove them from their historic hunting grounds and the close combat hunting tactics that served so well in a different environment did not work so well on smaller faster game. A collaborative, close knit, cohesive society struggled under the strain of environmental pressures and falling birth rates.

When life becomes a battle for survival culture and innovation suffer. The world narrows down and everyday becomes another chance to survive. Distinction should be made between a hard, difficult life and a life lived and molded by a harsh difficult environment.

Our physical environment today is not the harsh frozen landscape faced by our close kin Neanderthals. The environment we face is harsh in other ways though. The mental and emotional climate we are confronted with is tyrannical in its constant onslaught of negativity. A palette of different shades of gloom and doom is offered up with hysterical glee. How do we dodge the push towards the edge of of the pit? How do we declaw the predator that would consume our hearts and minds?

There are forces at work in this world that would have you believe that all is lost. The turmoil and chaos ramping up globally can overwhelm a body. They can leave one feeling helpless and hopeless. We live in a world that is increasingly dark and dangerous and we have little to no control over the narrative that we are exposed to by a 24/7 news cycle feeding on clicks and sound bytes. What we do have control over is how much of our limited time and temporal life we give to feeding that increasingly malevolent beast.

Where are you spending your time and energy? What are you filling those hours with?

I have cut down news time of all kinds. I am focusing on spending quality time with my family. We go places, we do things, we work out, we laugh, we cry, we work and we play games. We live our lives based on the things we have direct contact with, not some nebulous disaster that may or may not happen within our sphere of influence. We are not blind to the difficulties, we just try to make sure that we and those around us are OK.

Reach out and touch a life and uplift it in some way. Battle the agents of despair with kindness. Defy the miasma of doom with a smile and genuine encouragement of one another. We are the authors of our tales. Let us be that knight in shining armor!

Stepping Outside the Routine

Sometimes a body just needs to do something on the spur of the moment. Just wake up and look at an invitation and say all right let’s go! Road-trip!

Before the pandemic I travelled every year to someplace, sometimes more than one someplace. There are places to go and things to see in this grand world that beckon me to explore! I have the ‘bucket list’ and it is an ever evolving list as I stretch the possibilities into probabilities.

Since the world slipped off its hinges and travel was curtailed and the economics became more difficult to manage, I have only travelled close to home. That’s not a bad thing; if your radius is to be limited, there are worse places than here in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. I have so many beautiful destinations to choose from I can’t always narrow them easily.

Another complication to traveling and hiking and exploring the natural wonders around me is my work schedule. I am working extra hours as our company suffers the same lack of help as many others. Those of us who show up have many opportunities to show up even more. I am feeling the fatigue that prefaces burnout.

When my friend sent me a text that she ended up with extra space at her accommodations at the beach, I considered it Thursday night and decided against it. Friday morning, I woke up and asked my spouse, do you want to make a quick run to spend a day at the beach? And just like that we were packing and putting out extra grub for the pups.

It has been a long time since I went to the beach. The drive was extended due to traffic mishaps and congestion on our route, I also plugged in the wrong address so we had to get that sorted out before we at last landed at our destination. We had a fold out couch, a balcony view of the ocean and the sound of the waves. I felt the fatigue and burdens I’ve been carrying lighten. There are few sounds as soothing as the ocean lapping the shore.

We only had a day and we spent half of it sitting on the beach. The water was ice cold, but I could not resist the pull on my soul. I waded out and let it roll across my feet and legs until they went numb, then I walked along the edge the waves rolling across my feet and receding as I covered ground. I made a conscious effort to be in the moment and absorb the comfort and promise of eternity carried by the susurration of the waves. There are spiritual forces at work here and in all things that are bigger than the things and their purpose is unknowable unless it is yours to know. If these truths are yours to know then the knowing will inevitably change you and your relationship to all you think you know now.

I am walking on the edge of great changes and I am trying to make peace with the universe that has thrust them upon me. I thought I knew, I did not. I thought I had been through so much to get me here that I could handle anything. Alas, I cannot. All I can do is treat each day as the gift it is and try not to tarnish the gift.

I lay in the sun, the chilly breeze blowing off the ocean, a happy mix of heat and cool for the most part and I reached out towards the heavens and reached inwards towards my heart and sought a balance between the person I could be and the person I am. The gulf is real, but it is not impossible to cross. I am on that journey now. Nothing in this world is static. It is always better to pursue a goal than just drift along to end up wherever.

We spent the rest of the day eating seafood and then spending time with our friends. Good friends are important to have in this crazy world.

Our return home was a much more pleasant drive and the adventure has helped me recalibrate and I am refreshed and ready now! We have big plans for The Original Neanderthal this summer.

The Struggle is Real

Each morning or afternoon (depending on what shift I am working) I roll out of bed, and the time stretches before me and I must fill it with something. What will the day bring? At that foggy moment as my feet touch the floor so much is determined about the progression of my day. The circumstances, the events, and the responsibilities of my life do not have as much an affect on my day as my attitude when my feet hit the floor. Much of how my day is going to go is determined by what is going on inside my own head.

There are a lot of things happening in the world at large and in my own back yard that I have absolutely no control over. As the days pass and the circumstances continue to develop both nationally, locally and in my own household, I find myself struggling mentally and emotionally. What happened to those days when all I had to worry about was getting to work on time and how to divide up my paycheck between all my creditors and still have enough money to do a few things like buy groceries and gas? When did those days become the good old days?

There is a dark edge to my thoughts at times that would lead me down a pathway I don’t want to explore. There are things happening in my world that are redefining my life in ways I never anticipated nor wished for. I am struggling in my microcosm even as the world at large seems to be convulsing and thrashing about remaking itself into something not quite recognizable. There is no plan, no preparation, no hedge against the forces at work that will promise a good outcome. There is only me and my determination and my attitude standing on the edge of the abyss.

What can I do? I know what I cannot do. I cannot control or affect events transpiring in far away places, no matter how many hours of media I consume. I cannot control what is happening in my own life beyond trying to insure that I deal with it with empathy, and compassion even as I try not to become embittered and resentful. Every day I will face this challenge and I am discovering every day that I will not always rise to the challenge. Some days I leave the field, head bowed in defeat, crushed by my perceived failures. Other days I stride confidently towards the end of the day knowing I’ve got this, I can do what needs to be done. I have yet to find that middle ground where life just is and this is what I do.

It’s all in my head. My perception and my thoughts will determine my course through this. What I feed my psyche will strengthen or weaken me. We must use care in this world full of so much knowledge. Knowledge is power and what we consume is fuel. Feed well and do not starve the heart of the truths that matter most.

Be kind, do not envy or be full of pride. Do not let the world provoke you. Be aware of your thoughts, do not rejoice in evil. Seek the truth and be patient with yourself and others. Find Hope and believe in goodness. It still lives in this world. We may have to endure for a while, but that steadfastness will prove that the darkness is ethereal and can be navigated. Nothing in this world lasts forever. In that statement there is heartache and promise.

Survival in the Ice Age

Ice ages occur when long periods of colder global temperatures lead to the creation and expansion of glaciers. The cooler temperatures of the ice age cause the snows that fall to stick around and year after year glaciers grow and expand as the snow fall collects and does not melt. There have been at least 5 significant ice ages in Earth’s history and the ice ages themselves are broken into glacial and interglacial periods defined by the glacier coverage over the planet’s surface. Glacial periods denote when glaciers cover great swathes of the land and overall temperatures are lower. Interglacial periods of ice ages are when the glacier coverage retreats and ocean levels rise and overall temperatures rise across the globe. We are actually in an interglacial period of an ice age right now as we still have the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets intact. With all the screaming about global warming, that is a fun fact I did not know. We are in an ice age…

The most recent glaciation period known simply as the Ice Age lasted for 50,000 years reaching it’s peak some 18,000 years ago before giving way to this interglacial period. So global warming has been a thing for some 18,000 years now. At the height of the recent glaciation the ice grew to more than 12,000 feet thick as ice sheets spread across the globe and sea levels plunged and global temperatures dropped.

The Neanderthal were adapted to survive in a colder climate and lived mostly in Europe and Asia. Their bodies were suited for the life they lived, they were powerfully built, short, sturdy and strong. Their increased muscularity was beneficial in generating heat. Their hunter lifestyle led to very physically active lives that required lots of calories and protein to support. The game they hunted provided all that and more. Their nasal passages were adapted to optimize breathing in cold climates as tall narrow passageways increase mucosal surface area warming the air coming in.

Survival for these folks involved contending with a harsh climate, they adapted by living in the many limestone caves that dotted Europe and Asia. They had strong family groups that cared for sick and debilitated individuals. The family groups cooperated in large hunts and shared between them the bounty. The Neanderthal lived through many glacial and interglacial periods and evidence from excavations show that they adapted to and made use of the conditions they were living in. Glaciation significantly changes the land, so diets and hunting techniques and even food sources had to be adapted to over time. These major changes take years even generations to occur so one individual lived and never noticed that things were ever any different from what they encountered. The world they inhabited just was and they found ways to survive.

Looking forward from where we are, we can theorize about the changes that will occur if global warming continues. There have been instances in the history of the planet where there were no ice caps. There has been at least one ice age that totally engulfed the globe causing the earth to be one giant snowball in space. Our planet has seen extremes in climate all along its existence. The Earth is a huge complex ecosystem that our species has spent its entire history exploiting for our benefit and survival. The idea that global warming spells the end is a stretch. It may mean the end to how we do things now, but we are a creative, adaptable, imaginative people.

Climate change will affect us, everything in our environment affects us. The end of the Neanderthal has been attributed partially to climate change. Before it broke the last glaciation caused the European continent to became a frozen tundra that shrank the herds of available food sources and an already small population couldn’t over come the food shortages. By the end of the second wave of freezing temperatures the fossil records of the Neanderthal end and Homo sapiens moved in.

Our future as a people is being shaped constantly by our environment. We are being influenced and shaped by the world we inhabit, and by the things we do and consume physically, mentally and spiritually. Our ability to choose how we interact with the world around us and what we consume gives us the tools we need to persevere, overcome and even excel as individuals and as societies. The future will be what we make it. That is our power as a people.

Plans for the New Year

Fortune cookie

Here it is 2022. Hello! I ate at a local Chinese place and when I cracked open my fortune cookie I was happy. My present plans will be successful. Yay!!! Now…just what are my present plans?

I rolled this around my head a few times and it bounced off a few things and ended up in this nether region unaffixed to any particular outcome. Plans take, well…some planning. And I have always been a bit averse to well-laid plans. I am more of a let’s get through the day kind of person. Unfortunately, this has caused me to end up in a few places I never expected nor wanted to end up. We need a purpose to give us direction or else we drift and end up where-ever. Having been where-ever a few times, I really do not want this venture to end up there.

With The Original Neanderthal, I have been sitting down with my family and we have been laying out plans…what we want to accomplish, where we want this thing to go, how we want to connect with the world in general and at times I feel overwhelmed. I have so many great ideas…and we have so many things we want to accomplish. The pacing is of a necessity slow as we try to lay a solid groundwork from which we can go forward. Connecting with community, the local community and the community at large, those who are interested in what we are doing, is our current objective. We are reaching out on various Social Media platforms and our FB page is growing steadily. We are encouraged by the support and interest.

The Neanderthals also had to be master planners, their very survival depended on them planning a successful hunt. The coordination, and communication necessary to accomplish a kill with as little injury to the participants as possible was impressive. One miscommunication, one misstep and many would go hungry and some would die. Luckily, we are not so vulnerable to mistakes in this venture. This is a good thing, because we are still on the steeper side of the learning curve.

To be able to have a successful plan one must have some idea what success would look like when it arrives. Some of my plans haven’t been too clear on that. We are still throwing the end game for this year back and forth as we brainstorm and lay out a direction. There are many variables that will play into our success also, some are under our control and some are not.

What does success look like to you? Is it something you think about? Goals are nice, but the goal may be so nebulous that the more important thing is to have a path forward, a process that will gain you net positive results. We are focusing on this now, doing things that will set us in the right direction. Growth will occur because of the actions we take, the process we use and that growth will lead us towards success.

For now, I believe that success will be having a positive influence in a world so filled with negativity. Success will be establishing a brand that folks will appreciate because it made them smile or made them think. Success will be increasing our presence in the market place. And success will take a while in getting here, but I firmly believe it will be ours!

Meet the New Year, Same as the Old Year…or is it?

Life continues, day follows day and we sleep and we wake and we go about our life doing the things we do. Lately, it seems like just accomplishing the simple things in life has gotten complicated. We have been living under the fear of a pandemic that seems to have no ending for going on 2 years now. I have even heard folks say, welcome to the new normal…like this is something that we are just going to have to grin and bear.

In 2020 we met Covid and in 2021 it hung over the world like the hand of doom, and here in 2022 it appears that its not going anywhere, no matter how we behave. Wear a mask, don’t wear a mask…get the vaccine, don’t get the vaccine, the virus is doing what viruses do. It is mutating and carrying on, while we stagnate and stumble along in its wake. My mom went to the doctor with the ever scary upper respiratory symptoms and was encouraged to get the booster….Omicron is the current variant, but according to her doctor…he is hearing that another variant event is on the horizon. For those who have been going along to get along trying to wait it out to get back to normal, that statement should go a long way to convincing folks, that it’s not going to go away…the pandemic is now endemic and as a people we are going to have to learn to live with it even as it gets a little less deadly and more contagious. It’s what viruses do after all, it is how they survive and thrive.

Is 2022 going to be more of the same? Meet the new year…same as the old year? That, my friends is up to us. So many things that we have been leaving on the table and refusing to take responsibility for are still lying there waiting for us to pick them up and forge ahead. We are ultimately responsible for our lives. We need to pick up the tools we laid aside and begin using them to create a life worth living. We need to be critical thinkers, and question decisions that affect us directly. We need to make sure our children are in an environment which supports our core values and will learn to respect what made us the people we are and built the nation we are blessed to live in.

Have we forgotten that we are adults? We can think and we can reason and we can see what is right before us and we can make reasoned decisions based on cost benefit. We can weigh the risks of the decisions we make and we can bear the consequences of the decisions we make. When did we decide it would be better for some figure head in a far away place make critical life decisions for us individually? At no point in the history of the planet has this ever worked to the individual’s benefit.

We are individuals and at the same time we are social animals. We thrive in close knit communities with common values and goals. We need to embrace our community, support our localities, get involved in our local elections; because we are the grass roots and we live in a country that birthed a government that was of the people and for the people. Have we forgotten that we are The People that the government is supposed to answer to?

I see a building wave of change headed towards us. That change has not been totally defined, it is being fought over in the hearts and minds of us all. What will it be? Time will reveal that to us. While we go through the motions of our days, what we consume with our eyes and hear with our ears and take into our hearts and minds will determine the future of this great land, because our actions will evolve from what we consume. Not every entity in this great land is geared towards the betterment of its people. There is a ton of information out there, sifting through it and deciding what to believe is often beyond our ability because we can never know all the facts and we can never review and understand all the data being churned out. Not everyplace is like every other place either. What is good and right for a large metropolitan area may not make sense for a rural area.

Taking care of our community is the most important thing we can do. A healthy, thriving community with the support of other healthy thriving communities can support a locality. Thriving localities can support states. Thriving states can support a union. It all begins outside your front door with what you can affect directly. What you can affect directly will benefit most from all the positive energy and activity you can throw at it. Be kind to your neighbor. Buy from local businesses. Vote for local representatives, be a local representative! This year doesn’t have to be a repeat of the last. 2022 can be that year of change we all so desperately need.

Winding down 2021

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

It has been quite a year. We were born this year. The Original Neanderthal LLC was conceived as a concept in the Spring of the year and the first slogan was rolled out in April of 2021. When I took a moment for contemplation at the end of 2020 to look back and look ahead, I didn’t see any hint of The Original Neanderthal. It is cliche to say that we never know what lies ahead, but here it is, we do not.

Life is a fluid thing and it often finds its way to places a body never anticipated or even imagined. This is a good thing, flowing water is never stagnant. With all the pressure put on the population over 2020 and 2021, so much of it negative, trying to develop a positive concept has been like swimming upstream. We have struggled, and that is OK. One benefit of swimming against the current is a total physical, spiritual and mental workout and like all exercise it strengthens the targeted areas. I am not the same person I was when we started this, I am not the person I will be as we continue this journey.

The response to our efforts has been encouraging. We would like to take a moment to say a heart felt thank you to all those who supported us. Our family first and foremost, followed by close friends, and co-workers. We also want to acknowledge those who took the time to learn about us, to buy our products and converse with us online and follow our Facebook page, read our blog and listen to our new podcast. We enjoyed meeting those folks who checked us out at craft and vendor events this past year. One thing I have noticed is that the folks who get what we are trying to do, are enthusiastic. Those who don’t aren’t.

We have plans to continue growing, look for more content and look for more of a social media footprint as we have joined instagram and are looking at other social media outlets to get our content out to you. We have more slogans to pair with our Neanderthal figure guaranteed to make you smile, make you think, and encourage you to find and be the best you, you can be.

Looking back over the past few months, I am amazed at what we have accomplished. The ghost of Covid is haunting the turning of the year, it is not as big or overwhelming as it was last year. The things that we worry about are very real concerns, but I firmly believe that we are more than able to overcome the hardships facing us. The future has not been written yet, despite what the media would have you believe. As proved over this past year none of us really has any idea what the true plot will be. We will write it one day at a time by our actions and deeds. Hold your heads high. Be original, live free, be legendary and chase your future with determination. Be the hunter not the hunted!.We will persevere. There is no other option.

Tis the Season

And here it is, the week leading into Christmas Day, 2021. And here I am cruising along at warp speed, a strained smile on my face, hurtling through the most wonderful time of the year. There are not enough hours in the day. There are too many hours to fill. I have so many things I would like to do and I have so many things I won’t be able to do. I feel like I am being pulled this way and that. After all that has happened these past 2 years and what we have been through as a collective, I can’t seem to find a happy medium this year.

So, I am taking a step back from it all and refocusing. Maybe many of you recognize what I am feeling. We want to go back to normalcy. We want to wake up and step out into a world we recognize, and day after day we wake up and step out into a world where things seem to be spinning off into a dark direction. Prices are rising, store shelves are not full, and the fear of extreme shortages of food and fuel whisper on the wind. Politically, things seem to be going in a direction that is counter to our best interests and none of us are really sure who is going to benefit. All we know is it’s not going to be us. The fear mongering is constant on the main stream media. What can we do?

Growing up, Christmas had a magical feel to it, the sheer expectancy of good things headed our way made us giddy with delight. We decorated, we sang Christmas songs, we gave and we received gifts. We reached out to the needy in our community and we found joy in simple things. It wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t have to be for us to be happy.

Today, the pressure to create the perfect Christmas makes it impossible to reach the level of joy we aspire to. In seeking perfection we refuse to be satisfied with anything less and we set ourselves up for disappointment. They sold out of the gift we had to have. People are so rude, how can you enjoy anything? Someone in the family is ill, someone in the family has dependence issues, someone in the family is a little bit out there…those people are conservatives…those people are woke….these people expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter….those people will just steal the platter…and it goes on and on….there is always something isn’t there?

‘Tis the Season that we make it. Somewhere within each of us is the desire for something better. We know we fall far short of perfection and that there is much more to this life than cowering in fear of the latest virus iteration, or the climate change, or racism, or any of the other current fears du jour. We know that we were made for greater things than paying the bills and struggling to make ends meet.

‘Tis the Season to step away from the narrative and greet your neighbor, to shop at the local small businesses, to reach out to those in the community in need. Time to step up and be a positive force in your little corner of the world. It is time to jerk up the boot straps and take a deep breath and make a difference, even if it is a small difference. It is hard to be depressed and pursue a purpose. We were never meant to sit around and wait to be saved, we were created to strive, to be, to become.

‘Tis the Season when all things become possible. Embrace it!

Hunter Not Hunted

Our path forward from this day is ours to map, despite the pressure on us to fall in line with the plans of others. There are some things we must take care of in order to survive. At the top of the list is food, followed closely by clothing and shelter. We usually don’t need to stress about these things. We live in a wealthy country and for most of us these are readily available, so available that “what do you want to eat?” is a cliched meme. How many times has your spouse or significant other asked, and forced you to choose among the many available options? Sometimes, it even goes into the I don’t know, what do you want? back and forth until finally a body just pulls in somewhere.

Neanderthals lived in an environment where survival looked a lot different than it does for us. The Hunt was central to their lives. Scientists have discovered many things about Neanderthal hunting techniques and technology. From the discovery of a centralized staging area where family groups or clans met to organize hunts for prey we can only view as replicas in museums, to the discovery of hearths where meat was prepared and bones with traces of stone blade work were left in refuse piles, we are gaining a greater appreciation for these peoples.

I kid my friends that I need to create a meme saying you may be a 2A gun toting bad ass but are you a run up to a wooly rhinoceros and stab it with a short spear bad ass? For the Neanderthal to successfully hunt the game that roamed the earth during their tenure on the planet they had to be strong, cunning, cooperative, and lucky. All evidence indicates they did not always leave these hunts in the same shape they entered them. Most Neanderthal fossils show evidence of trauma in the form of broken and healed bones and disfiguring injuries to extremities.

Hunting was essential for their survival and hunting Wooly Mammoths, Rhinos, Red Deer and other extinct game defined their society. They were nomads, some roamed limited territories and others ventured further afield. There have been killing fields identified where it appears that big game was run off cliffs and the corpses harvested for the needs of the groups involved, which indicates that communication and interaction with neighboring family groups was a thing. The idea that these peoples were subhuman brutes is being shattered with each excavation of identified Neanderthal occupied sites.

Hunting has been a human activity throughout the history of the planet. Today in our society it has been mostly relegated to a sporting activity. My own sons are prolific hunters. When they were young and showed an interest in hunting, I found them a mentor who would teach them respect for the environment and the game they hunted. We would eat what they hunted and they would be responsible for field dressing and caring for the game. Now, I look forward to a venison roast and deer jerky each fall and winter.

Hunting is a proactive state, going out into the wilds and procuring meat for the family involves skill, patience and persistence. In our society today too many have let themselves get caught up in a reactive state. When constantly reacting to the slings and arrows of a world that really doesn’t have your best interest in heart it is hard to get any traction or make any forward progress. It is easy to get beat down and depressed. Victimization is a big thing. But it’s important to realize that in the long run it is a losing proposition. With the Hunter Not Hunted collection, we at the Original Neanderthal LLC want to encourage people to be proactive. To take charge and to plan and engage their future. To be the pursuer of their dreams and the marshal of their lives. Our very survival as a people is going to be on the shoulders of those who step into the breach and act, to those who step boldly into the fray. It won’t be the spoken word, it will be the actions of those who refuse to settle that will define these perilous times.

Gratitude

Gratitude seems to be one of those things folks struggle with anymore. What is gratitude and where does it come from? Just how important is it? What effects does it have on our daily life and our general outlook? Where does it lead? I believe that gratitude is one of the biggest determiners of happiness in a person’s life.

Most folks if you ask them have different definitions for what happiness looks like. They live in the pursuit of something that is always just out of reach. If only I could get a job, a better job, a promotion…if only I had enough money to do what I want to do…if only I had a this or a that I could be happy…They look at social media and compare themselves to the stories of the people on the little screens and look at their own circumstances and come up short. They follow the media and swing from panic state to panic state as crisis after crisis bombards them with the same message just packaged a little differently. Be afraid…be very afraid…

Happiness is a construct we create to define what we consider to be a good place to be. It is so important to our individual well being that our constitution even says that in this great land we have the right to pursue happiness. My vision of happiness is mine alone, each one of us has an idea of what happiness should look like and what it should feel like when we stumble across it on our trip across time and space. Some of us have made the mistake of giving other people the key to our happiness, looking for someone to fill the void and create for us that space where we feel most content. We wait for someone else to take care of us giving them a power over us that they should not possess.

I have discovered that one of the keys to that elusive state of happiness lies in gratitude. This Thanksgiving Holiday, a uniquely American Holiday, has historically been a time to reflect on our lives and the things in it that we appreciate, the things that lift us up, support us and make us better people. From the very basics of life, Food, clothes and shelter to the extraordinary happenstances that occur; we have many things to be grateful for. Gratitude is one of the least practiced graces I’ve seen lately. Our society is a short tempered, demanding and complaining lot by and large. We have plenty of time to list all that is wrong in the world. Every sling and slight is recorded on a score card and the score is always overbalanced on the side of all that is wrong in the world. When a body is so busy cataloging all the negative things they encounter they don’t have the eyes to see their blessings; they don’t have the mindset to appreciate the little things that are so precious, and they miss out on so much beauty in the world. There is not room in the psyche for complaining and gratitude to co-exist.

I would encourage everyone to stop, turn off the narrative, and take a long, hard look at their life. Get out a piece of paper and list everything good, everything positive, and all that has gone right, from the smallest to the largest of blessings, they are there waiting to be counted and acknowledged. Gratitude, a heart full of thanksgiving, will light up a dark world. It will change your very countenance. People will respond to your positive attitude and like a virus…it just might catch and spread.