Sunday, November 22, 2020



I am taking a break for Thanksgiving.  So instead, here is this week’s Living Compass column and video, which is beautiful.  Thank you, Scott Stoner for sharing this every year right around now…

“Let the Gratefulness Overflow into Blessing All Around You

This week's column's title comes from one of my favorite videos. I have shared it in this column before, as it speaks so eloquently about the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

The video, which focuses on nature, beauty, and gratitude, brings the stunning photography of Louie Schwartzberg together with the spoken words of Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast. Brother David invites us to pay attention, really pay attention to the simple gifts and blessings of life that can be so quickly be taken for granted. He points out that paying attention to the wonder of nature and the wonder of the people we encounter in our life is the basis for authentic gratitude. I could not agree more, and I am trying to practice it even in these challenging times.

This Thanksgiving, many of our hearts are filled not only with gratitude but also with grief. Grief for the multitude of devastating losses caused by COVID-19 and for not being able to be with friends and family as we make the difficult choice to do our part in reducing the spread of the virus. 

Perhaps because my heart is exceedingly soft this year, I am even more deeply moved by this video’s message. Seeing people in the video hug and be close to one another is especially poignant. While it made me miss such closeness with others, it also brought back beautiful memories of past holiday gatherings. It reminded me that a time would come when we will once again be able to share our love and gratitude with each other, socially close and unmasked. When that day comes, I think we will all hug and cry, never taking such wonders for granted again. 

You can view the video here

 If you want to read along as Brother David speaks, the text of his words follows. His narration is spectacular, and so I highly recommend listening to him recite these words. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and in the words of Brother David, "May your gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you.”

  “You think that this is just another day in your life. It's not just another day. It's the one day that is given to you - today. It's given to you. It's a gift. It's the only gift that you have right now. And the only appropriate response is gratefulness.

  If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is. If you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.

  Begin by opening your eyes, and be surprised that you have eyes you can open to that incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for our pure enjoyment. Look at the sky. We so rarely look at the sky. We so rarely note how different it is from moment to moment, with clouds coming and going. We just think of the weather, and even with the weather we don't think of all the many nuances of weather. We just think of "good weather" and "bad weather."

  This day, right now, with its unique weather, may be a kind that will never exactly in that form come again. The formation of clouds in the sky will never be the same as it is right now. Open your eyes. Look at that.

  Look at the faces of people whom you meet. Each one has an incredible story behind their face, a story that you could never fully fathom. Not only their own story, but the story of their ancestors. We all go back so far.

  And in this present moment on this day, all the people you meet, all that life from generations, and from so many places all over the world, flows together and meets you here like a life-giving water, if you only open your heart and drink.

  Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us. You flip a switch, and there is electric light. You turn a faucet, and there is warm water, and cold water, and drinkable water, a gift that millions and millions in the world will never experience.

  So these are just a few of an enormous number of gifts to which you can open your heart.

  And so I am wishing you will open your heart to all these blessings and let them flow through you. Know that everyone you will meet on this day will be blessed by you, just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch, just by your presence.

 Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then it will really be a good day.”

Words by Brother David Steindl-Rast”

Happy Thanksgiving and Namaste


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