Giving Thanks to Our Veterans
As the fabulous fall leaves turn, do their once in a lifetime dance, and drop, our thoughts turn to turkeys, and we start to look forward to our national holiday for giving thanks. For many, this means family dinners, traveling, time-off from work, happy times. For some, it means loneliness, stress, memories of lost loved ones, and sadness. For others, it means working, being stationed overseas away from loved ones in parts of the world that have no idea what our Thanksgiving day means. And for others there is a whole different story of how this country was settled and what happened to the indigenous cultures.
Giving thanks is not just something reserved for one day a year. Being thankful & expressing gratitude is a valuable part of every day living. Some people were brought up to say grace or give thanks before each meal, and regardless of any religious or spiritual leanings, that is a great way to bring gratitude into your daily life.
A couple of my favorite gratitude quotes:
“Gratitude opens the door to… the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the Universe. You open the door through gratitude.” ~Deepak Chopra
“Gratitude is the powerful process of shifting your energy and bringing more of what you want into your life. Be grateful for what you already have and you will attract more good things.”
Being grateful and expressing it tells the Universe or the Creator that you are aware & appreciate the good things in your life, and by the Law of Attraction, starts to draw more of the same to you. Even if you are going through a difficult time, or maybe even what you perceive to be the worst time of your life, each day, you can find something to be grateful for. That small act of focus starts to bring more positivity into your life. Some days, you might just be grateful for the comfortable bed you have to sleep in or the roof over your head. Other days, you might have a whole list. Either way, that’s ok.
People prone to anxiety or depression sometimes have a hard time climbing out of the anxiety tank or the pit of despair. Taking even just 5 minutes a day, or whenever a case of the blahs or circling anxious thoughts starts, you can stop it by deep breathing through it and starting to count your blessings and acknowledge your thankfulness for each one. And you will start to feel better. Little things like being able to take a full, deep breathe of clean air, a cup of tea or coffee, a beautifully-colored fall leaf – life is made of lots of little things to be thankful for!
Last month, I talked about gratitude journals as a way to help us focus on the positive. If you missed that, a gratitude journal is a special book that you keep to write down only the things that you are thankful & grateful for. It’s a good process to write down 3-5 things each night before you go to sleep. That way, your last thoughts are on positive things, which can greatly enhance your quality of & ability to sleep.
For me, November also means the Marine Corps birthday on November 10 and Veteran’s Day on November 11. I grew up on Marine Corps bases, as my dad was a career Marine, who joined in about 1957, served 2-3 tours (I’m not really sure because he didn’t talk about it much) in Vietnam, and was awarded numerous medals of honour including the Bronze Star. He & my mom & their friends used to go to the Marine Corps Ball, which celebrated the forming of their branch in 1775. While I may not agree with everything our government does, I sure do respect anyone who decides to join any branch of the military and serve our country. And I am grateful to everyone who served in any branch. Veteran’s Day brings up mixed feelings for me, because our veterans of any war deserve our gratitude and respect for what they did for us, and also my dad is no longer physically here.
On a couple of occasions, my dad told me the story of when he returned from Vietnam, where he flew helicopters going to & from the front fights, risking his life for those who served. He was so happy to finally get safely back in this country, to see his family, and arrived in San Francisco, only to be spat on by “peaceful” protestors who opposed the Vietnam War. Our veterans have no say in what they are told to do once they join up. They do their job, just like anyone else and deserve our gratitude. My dad said that no one outside of family or friends ever really thanked him for his service for many years. One day, some 30 plus years after Vietnam, he was getting gas and a stranger approached him and saw his flag & USMC lapel pins he always wore. The stranger asked him if he served and my dad replied, “Yes sir, 23 years.” The man extended his hand and said, “I just want to thank you for your service!” My dad came home and related the story & was so touched by this! Thirty-some-odd years is way too long to wait to thank a vet! Let’s change that!
Veterans need our gratitude & our help. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is much more widely talked about now than it was back in my dad’s day, when it was barely acknowledged. Many veterans did not get treatment for it and many are struggling with it now. Massage therapy & in particular, Craniosacral Therapy, can be of great benefit to veterans. According to Dr. John E. Upledger, “PTSD is not an incurable mental disorder. Our research with Vietnam veterans has shown just the opposite, producing some of the most dramatic and encouraging results I have ever witnessed.”
Let’s make November an entire month of gratitude. Let’s be mindful of all the little & big things we have to be thankful for each day and make an effort to truly thank at least one person every day. If you know a veteran, please thank them for their service. By spreading gratitude around for an entire month, we start a new habit/routine/ritual (this was October’s theme, remember?) and increase the attraction of more things to be grateful for flowing into our lives and spread positivity for everyone.
Semper Fidelis! (The USMC motto that means "Always faithful.")
Brightest Blissful Blessings,