Cicero, the 1st Century Roman orator once said: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
The U.S. Holiday of Thanksgiving took place last week, but hopefully we’re not expressing thanks just one day of the year. Daily gratitude is a key to happiness, health, success and balanced living.
So I get to write about it again.
Sometimes people get dejected, or have suffered great loss and find it difficult to find anything to be thankful for.
One of the best spiritual practices I know is to list at least 5 things you are grateful for every night before you go to bed and every morning when you wake up. That can help lift our spirits no matter what is going on.
So my goal today is to help you out by listing things we can express gratitude for – things that we may just take for granted. Things it may not occur to us to be grateful for.
This Veterans’ Day post first appeared November 7, 2012. I felt it deserved a repeat.
To me, Veterans’ Day, celebrated this Monday November 11, just isn’t enough to honor what our veterans have done for this country.
Although I am a pacifist, and was an active anti-war activist during the Vietnam War, I was ashamed of the way our veterans were treated when they returned home.
And I am still deeply saddened by the lack of support and care our veterans receive today.
Yes, war is horrendous, and perhaps if women were running the world there wouldn’t be any wars. But those who did their duty and fought for us deserve better than one day to celebrate them.
THE CURRENT CRISIS IN OUR MILITARY CARE
Military suicides are at record levels. Here are some startling statistics:
- More U.S. Military personnel have died by suicide since the war in Afghanistan started than have died fighting the war.
- While veterans account for 10% of all U.S. adults, they account for 20% of U.S. suicides.
- Among all veterans, a suicide occurs every 80 minutes, round the clock.
- While the Pentagon offers a crisis hotline, waits can be long. Earlier this year, helicopter pilot Ian Morrison called the hotline and waited on hold for 45 minutes; his last text to his wife said, “STILL on hold.” He committed suicide later that day.
- It’s not only those seeing combat. Nearly 1/3 of the suicides from 2005 to 2020 were among troops who had never deployed; 43% had deployed only once.
- 95% of military suicides are male.
Sleep gets short shrift in our society. Health advocates promote the importance of diet and exercise, but sleep is seldom mentioned.
Yet it’s the third leg of the health tripod.
We spend over one-third [36%] of our lives doing it. So if you’re 90 years old, you’ve spent 32 years asleep. Sobering, isn’t it?
The latest research shows that sleep is a bit of a miracle drug and we should all be taking it more seriously.
I’ll admit that I have spent a fair amount of time in my life fantasizing about how much more I could get done if I had more waking hours. I’ve even written posts on how to be more productive.
But no less a power player than Arianna Huffington, in her TED talk, sang the praises of getting enough sleep. That’s a position she moved to after fainting from exhaustion, hitting her head on her desk, and breaking her cheekbone requiring five stitches on her right eye. That would make me a convert, too.
Getting enough sleep improves your life in so many ways that it could be considered a key to success, in spite of Margaret Thatcher saying sleep is for wimps and Thomas Edison’s proclamation that it’s a criminal waste of time.
Here’s why Thatcher and Edison were both wrong about sleep
The brain doesn’t shut down when we sleep. In fact, some areas of the brain are more active during sleep than when awake. While part of us is getting much needed rest, another part is learning and processing.
I’ve been reading with alarm the stories of radioactive fish being caught in the Pacific Ocean as a result of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan in 2011. Including radioactive bluefin tuna caught recently off the California coast.
Fukushima is the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, both measuring Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.
Even after the initial radiation leakage that occurred in 2011 as a result of the earthquake and tsunami, the Fukushima plant has continued to leak radiation into the Pacific Ocean.
There are no signs of it stopping because Japan can’t even figure out why it’s leaking.
All fishing off the Fukushima coast has been banned by the Japanese government, though restrictions were eased in June 2012 allowing fishing of 16 types of marine life.
But here’s the thing: fish swim. And they can swim from Japan to the U.S. coastline. A bluefin tuna tagged by scientists was found to have crossed between Japan and the West Cost of the U.S. three times in 600 days.
Japanese and U.S. officials claim that the amount of radiation found in the bluefin is safe. But the overwhelming scientific opinion is that there is no safe level of radiation.
So there isn’t a consensus. But here’s what you can rely on: governments will lie to us and downplay the danger.
So we’re on our own and have to fend for ourselves on what to eat and how to stay healthy.
When the great Lakota leader Crazy Horse was getting ready to go into battle, he would review his warriors and, if any were full of anger, he would tell them to stay behind.
Only when they had conquered their anger could they rejoin him.
That’s surprising, isn’t it? One would think that such a dedicated and successful warrior on behalf of his people was motivated by anger, but apparently not.
Anger can point us in the direction of what’s important to us, but anger often controls the person instead of the person controlling it. And that’s where the trouble starts.
Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Buddha
DO YOU CONTROL YOUR ANGER OR DOES IT CONTROL YOU?
‘There’s nothing wrong with anger provided you use it constructively.” Wayne Dyer
Use it to motivate you to make change.
But if it twists your heart into knots and makes you vindictive and out of control, it hasn’t served you. You have served it. I believe that’s the kind of anger Crazy Horse didn’t want in his warriors.