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  • Writer's pictureMichael Gill


It was Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend and I did a lot of reflecting on what giving thanks means to me. Thanks, is simply defined as an expression of gratitude. But I think of thanks as a lot more than just this simple expression. Thanks should be a daily reflection of being grateful for what we have. I think giving thanks starts within us first. Being thankful for waking up in the morning with health, recognizing that not everyone wakes up with health, and for many that might be the beginning of a very challenging and strenuous day. Being thankful for my health at the start of the day helps me ensure I do not take the day for granted. Like most people in the morning, I might catch a little bit of the morning news to see what the forecast is going to be for the day, I tend to avoid the news because of how depressing it can be, however, when I do catch something unsettling, I try to channel my thanks to how fortunate I am. My gratitude continues as I drink my coffee and eat my breakfast and think about all those who may not be able to enjoy a morning coffee and eat a basic breakfast. It does not stop there. I look around the room and I see the beautiful faces of my children and my wife, I recognize how lucky I am to have a healthy family. We live a pretty humble life, but in our humbleness, we still know better than a lot of people and for this we are thankful. This particular gratefulness we try to remind ourselves of every day. There is too much suffering in this world, we should be thankful for what we have and stop complaining about what we don’t have.

Nowadays, mental health seems to be a common issue in families around the globe. I wouldn't say that we don’t have struggles, we certainly are challenged with anxiety and mild depression from time to time. But for the most part, we are able to persevere and stay ahead of things, and for that, I am extremely thankful. My family is so incredibly supportive, that whenever there is a need we are determined to find a way to make that need happen. I am thankful I have most of my family here in Calgary. I am able to see many family members often and for this I am thankful. I have a 92-year-old grandmother, who I speak to often about family, baseball or NASCAR and I will be forever thankful that I was able to enjoy such a time with a grandparent, because I know many who have never known theirs. When we gather for Thanksgiving and go around the dinner table and talk about what we are thankful for, there are so many things that we do not even think of sometimes. If we truly reflect on the things that allow to smile each day, it's not too difficult to realize all the things even some of the small things to be thankful for.

Sometimes bad things just happen out of the blue. When they do, by human nature we can sometimes make them a lot bigger than they are, I think most of you will know what I mean, the small things that we just overreact to. I have been attempting to put a new spin on these and believe me it is a work in progress. Whenever something negative or disruptive happens, I try to think of how it could have been a lot worse. I try to be thankful that it did not turn out to be the worst-case scenario. For example, it was a very windy day this past Monday and there was dust blowing around in the air. That evening, I noticed my youngest daughter rubbing her eye and I saw that it was pretty red. My first thoughts were… 'here we go again, another case of conjunctivitis.' But when I looked a little closer, I noticed a small spec, right close to the outside of the iris. Now I am not a specialist in this area, but I did feel a bit uneasy about it. So, we took her to the doctor and had it examined. The doctor had explained to us that a very small metal shard had penetrated her sclera right on the border of the iris. The doctor explained that the injury was very typical of a metal injury of the eye because of how it tore the tissue. The doctor also explained that the metal shard had fallen out and was no longer causing any further damage. At that moment in time, I was so grateful and thankful that it was not any worse. I think of situations where this same particular event could have occurred with another person, and they might not have been as fortunate. It’s a reflection on how we really were lucky, and maybe by some divine intervention, my little girl was spared from any further injury. Now we are not out of the woods yet. She is still having to take antibiotics to prevent any type of infection. But I am incredibly thankful that it was not worse.

I have learned over the years that being thankful or grateful should be an ongoing sentiment. When things seem bad, we should try to see how they could have been much worse and be thankful that they weren’t. We should wake in the mornings and be thankful we are in a place that really is not so bad. We should say thank you to our neighbours, to our families and friends for being there for us. And we should be thankful to whatever power you believe in for what you have and keeping those far worse things from impacting your life.

Curious about how to embed gratitude into your team or daily practice? Reach out, a call doesn't cost a thing!

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