2022 November 22 Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving

Nov 22, 2022

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website by, for, and about Baby Boomers. Thanks for joining me tonight to talk about Thanksgiving. Let's get started. 


But first, the regular reminder: I'm not a medical professional.I'll be talking about things that I personally find useful and helpful. If you find yourself feeling truly hopeless or depressed, please seek professional medical attention or just dial 911. If you can't find the number you need, just dial 911 - and also now you can dial 988. In either case, you should find somebody who can provide immediate assistance and somebody to talk to.


You know it's a holiday. I know there's a lot of stresses going on of different kinds. If you have any issues whatsoever, feelings of overwhelm, 911 or 988 will get you in touch with somebody you can talk the whole thing through with. Good to know for yourself or friend, especially over the holidays.


If you like what you hear, please leave a like, tell your friends. If you don't, get in touch with us. Tell us what you'd like to hear more of. 


So, just like that it's time for Thanksgiving in the US. This year really flew by, at least for me. In the US, Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday of November. So the calendar date may change the day of the month, but its place in the calendar always stays the same.


One of the nice things about being on a Thursday is that many people then get a four day weekend, even more to be thankful for. Since we tend to look at things a little more positive and proactive here, we're also going to talk about Thanksgiving from that same aspect. A lot of people both online, offline, and in the newspapers, tv, they say, Oh, I'm thankful for my friends, all the good things in my life and things like that, and that is genuinely excellent. You know, it is a good time to be thankful for all those things. If all is basically well in your life, that's fantastic and we're all genuinely happy for you, absolutely. We truly want you to have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 


But as I generally do with every major holiday, I also try to speak to those of us who don't have all those easy, positive things to think about, or perhaps just had something truly challenging happen in their life, or a memory that just won't go away, that makes simplistic happiness kind of difficult to embrace.


First off, if this Thanksgiving or year or time of your life is being challenging, our good thoughts and support go out to you. Been there. It's never fun, but it can be overcome, and that's what we're all about here. Doing all that we can to take charge of our lives and get the best possible outcomes from our current situation.


But just saying that isn't very effective. Unless we go over some of the techniques we've developed to help move us through these more difficult times and move our lives and everything, and work towards our goals. If you're new here, I'll just encourage you to look back at some of the past episodes. We've gone through this in depth, bit by bit. We're going to go through it just quickly here again. The core of this is basically not feeling like everything is beyond your control, but realizing that you do have some things you can do to take some degree of control of your life. Obviously, if the only thing that'll make you happy is to flap your arms and fly, that's not going to work.


But the first part is defining goals that are stretch goals, difficult goals perhaps, but goals that would truly bring meaning to your life. But the very first step is often to try thinking outside of ourselves, whether it's taking care of your pet, helping a stranger or a neighbor, calling or writing a note to an old friend, or just making silent wishes for somebody you see walking down the street. Boy, I hope they have a really great day.


The important part is to focus outside of ourselves, to focus on somebody else and to project care towards them. Just the act of wishing someone else well can help reorient our mind toward a more positive frame of reference and help us to see other good things around us. Remember we first talked about that in the context of the book Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh. Really neat book. I still read and reread it on a regular basis. Lot of good little tips, but you just see somebody, you don't have to go up and say, Hey, I'm thinking good things about you. Just see them and think something positive will happen. You know, I hope they're going to do something fun, or I hope they just bought a winning lottery ticket or whatever. Just something positive, and that positive frame of reference will work its way through your mind and help you towards a more positive frame of reference towards yourself and things around you.


Then if you're able, try to envision what your ideal, positive outcome would be. If you could start doing anything you wanted to at this moment, and that truly means anything, what would be the ideal, positive outcome?


It has to be realizable, obviously. You can't say, Oh, well I would be 15 again. Well, we can't go back in time. At least we don't think you can. So that's probably kind of beyond the realm of conceivable, bu how about you just stop everything and move to a tropical beach or open a little store to sell things that you like, or maybe a little school to teach music?


The point isn't to envision what is possible. It's to find out what your real passion is, and then what's the next step? It's to really imagine it in detail and in depth. We've talked about this for a couple of different episodes. What I'm talking about is to imagine the sounds, the smells, the people.


If you're cooking, imagine the aroma and the taste of what you're making. If you're teaching, imagine the questions you get and the excitement of your students when they learn a new skill. This is very important. Take note of how you feel when you see all the good results of what you're doing and what you're accomplishing.


Now, start to write down or make a little storyboard of what you're envisioning. It can be really simple. Initially, even just a few reminders is enough. You just want to help your brain get back into that same frame of reference where you're content and happy and excited and satisfied. Now think of a short sentence or statement of how you would describe it to yourself or perhaps to a close friend that knows you.


My first graduating class teaching girls to bake cookies. Listening to my foreign students give a one minute speech in English. Whatever it is, write that statement, and know that you can always come back to that as a life goal, and then use your vision statement or storyboard to get you back into that same frame of mind.


We talk a lot about this in various episodes, and in the upcoming course that we're putting together. It leads to a whole thing where you really turn that into a reality. But for now, just think about this as a first step to get your mind and your whole being into a more positive frame of reference.


Now, you might be rightfully saying, Jim, that's great for the long term, but what about today? What about right now? I'm just feeling bad right now. Maybe you're alone for Thanksgiving or in a situation you don't enjoy. This is where all the other skills we've talked about over the past months can be put to use.


But first and foremost, remember that you may not be able to control the world, but you can generally control your reaction to it. This is a very powerful concept. If Uncle Henry's, again, droning on about how handsome he is and smart too, you're probably able to either move to a different area of the gathering that you're at, or at least move away or possibly even change the conversation to something you're interested in and maybe everybody's interested. Not only might you feel better, but probably everyone else will be secretly thankful that you took control and involved the rest of the group in something enjoyable for a change, instead of listening to Uncle Harry for the whole evening. 


But even in more difficult situations, like you just lost someone close to you, there are things you may be able to do to help ease the loss in that moment. We've talked about this in the context of Day of the Dead in Mexico, where I have family. They build a little altar where they celebrate the lives of the people they lost. I've seen many of them, and they're really darling. They just recreate that person, and they're there in spirit, and they can envision them and they can capture that moment again.


So do something in honor of their memory, or perhaps an honor of your own happiness. If you can involve other people, so much the better. They'll be there to support you and to share in both your loss and in your growth. But the most important thing is that you're doing something proactive to try and take control of your own happiness in life.


What often makes times like holidays so difficult is that we tell ourselves this story that everyone - yes, everyone else - is happy, except us. When we do that, we make ourselves a victim of the circumstances, which makes us feel powerless, which makes us very, very unhappy. I'll just tell you. Personally, been there, done that. It’s probably one of the worst things we do to ourselves. But by doing something proactive, no matter how small, our inner self will start to feel encouraged, and by working to regain control of our life and that one little step, we'll encourage more and bigger steps, and we'll start to again realize that we still have goals and dreams in our life.


Those goals and dreams might be different than before, but they're still there and they're still important. We'll be offering a whole course on goal setting and envisionment, but hopefully these first little steps will help you feel a little bit calmer, a little bit less adrift during the holidays, especially if they’re being difficult for you.


Of course, even if you're having a fantastic holiday, which hopefully you are, all these same techniques could be used to bring your life satisfaction to a whole new level. So wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and hoping it's the best one possible. No matter what, remember that you're still in control of how you react to the world, and hopefully you can frame things so you can find some joy around you, not only for Thanksgiving, but for every single day.


That's it for the evening. Thank you for joining. Please remember the war in Ukraine. Talk about thinking outside yourself. The war is still going on. UKR7.com is still up. World Central Kitchen is now listed there. I mentioned that last week. If you want to do something that's really very proactive and very necessary for the people. If you're in the northern parts of the US, it's turning into winter. Buffalo just had six feet of snow, Buffalo, New York. So winter is certainly here. Ukraine's about our same latitude, so they are also entering winter. 


World Central Kitchen goes and provides meals for people who otherwise can't feed themselves. It's an amazing thing. If you want, I would encourage you to listen to last week's episode, where we talk about that. Not only as a role model for ourselves, but just to know all the amazing things that they've done. WCK.org. 


Now's a great time during the holiday season, as we have so much, to think about the people that do not. Remember always. One of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. Living outside yourself really helps put a perspective on everything. So if you can and you're able, please check us out. UKR7.com or WCK.org. 


As always, be true to yourself. Live your life aligned with your true goals and feelings. Thanks for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along, and please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear.


Have a great week, and remember to live the life that you dreamed of, because that's the path to true contentment. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you.

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