Thanksgiving. What does it mean to you? We seldom think about so many of the things for which we can be thankful. For instance, it never occurred to me to be thankful for the air I breath until it became hard to breathe. I am thankful now! I never thought about being grateful I could charge around a shopping mall or chase my grandkids in the park, until I couldn’t. For most of my years it never occurred to me to be grateful I was not in pain until I was. I am thankful now when I’m not.

As you get older I think you become more grateful for sweet things like the phone call from your granddaughter at night to make sure you are okay or the friends who call from California just to check on you, oh and yes, and the Carmel Delight ice cream in the freezer.

The thing I am most thankful for this year is my life time, seventy-seven years of teachable moments, quantum leaping, bruises and broken hearts and utter delight in the slap-up-side the head spiritual realizations. 

This life has been a potpourri of precious moments, both difficult and joyful. Don’t miss any of them by being checked out, too busy or focused on the things you can’t take with you. 

Your greatest gifts are those moments that teach you something and show you who you really are because that is what you will take with you to your next life.

So this holiday, just pause and think about the real gifts in your life for which you can be incredibly thankful, gifts such as:

The people who truly love you without reservation or judgment.

The people who show up when you really need them without you even asking.

The people in the program speak the truth and give you the courage to do the same.

The moments when you realized you were not really being who you are.

The moments when you realized you were being who you really are.

The times you told excruciating truths kindly, without caring how you looked or how it sounded.

That precious moment when you realized you could and were making a real difference in someone’s life.

The moment you knew what you came here to do and realized you were doing it, or were in the midst of taking your first step toward that purpose.

The moment you realized the things most important in your life couldn’t be bought, worked hard for, found at Macy’s, or in your stock portfolio. They are sitting across the table from you.

The day you realized that being the teacher was less important than being the student .

The truth that we never really lose anyone, whether here or passed to the beyond, we keep each other safely carried in our hearts.

Thanksgiving is a great time for little ritual of giving thanks. Write down all the things you are grateful for that you cannot put in a bag, buy at a store or purchase with a credit card — in other words, those things that create the tapestry of your soul and life experience here. Then take them outside and burn them, letting your gratitude rise in the smoke up to the sky to whatever, to whomever you perceive spirit or your higher power as you understand him or her to be, or no one at all — just be in the gratitude for all the things you can, and will, take with you when you leave here.

No matter how old you are, there is so much to be grateful about. Mellody Beattie says “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Think about that. 

When you are feeling sad or worried about something and you take a minute to breathe and look for something for which you feel grateful, your energy is changed. We like to name three things that we are grateful for with each member for the family. You’d be as surprised as each person is, to know that sometimes people have no idea we feel that way and knowing that is a gift.

As for us…we are grateful for you, that you take the time to read and support the paper and that you share the loving contents with those people in your life who can benefit from it. We wish you every joy at this Thanksgiving.

Dr. Dina is a Marriage, Family, and Child Therapist and Consciousness Counselor. She has presented nationwide seminars and workshops, written several books and created meditation CDs for couples, individual and mental health professionals. She has also won national acclaim as a human rights advocate. Visit or call her at 602 571-8228