I often wonder how many other folks are feeling like I do. 

Sometimes I feel like I function on solar energy... capturing strength from the warmth of the sun.  Sunshine nurtures vitality in my soul providing enthusiasm and excitement for life’s adventure.  Then, when you least expect it, it is November (in Cleveland) and you wonder what happened to the sun?  Days get so short, so fast!  This year was especially difficult with far too few sunny days and far too much rain to get outdoors and enjoy our fall season. 

Being the eternal optimist (and pragmatist) I have my tried and true methodologies for dealing with adversity such as this.  My first instinct is to take a look around and get some perspective.  Most of us can easily see how good we’ve got it!  So, I may be feeling low on energy but in the grand scheme of things??? 

Yet, on the other hand, we all have life challenges to deal with as well... it’s a part of the deal.  While there are no dire circumstances on my plate there are a couple of family and friends with some medical issues going on that damper my spirit.  I would by lying if I didn’t admit to some sleepless nights worrying about their well-being.   

Dang... I may need to dig deeper into my bag of coping mechanisms to maintain my glass-half-full outlook.  What do I have to celebrate?  What victories can I identify (there is no such thing as a small victory) that may help build back some positive momentum?  There have been a couple of engagements in the family... those are powerfully positive victories!  There are a few close friends and family with exciting, new jobs and relationships that have been all the chatter at our fall get-togethers. 

One new relationship struck me as exceptionally positive.  My daughter Darby and her boyfriend Sid had been considering getting a dog for a long time and finally took the plunge and rescued a dog from the animal shelter.  Ziggy is about 2 years old and was living the tough life of a street dog.  Although he had never been exposed to living in a house he adapted quickly and is a loving and faithful companion.  Sid and Darby will tell you what many others who have adopted pets often say... we started by thinking we were rescuing Ziggy but, in the end, he really rescued us!  Darby no longer feels the extreme anxiety she felt with her Physical Therapy studies and Sid (who lost his life-long pet, Booker earlier this year) has a new best buddy. 

Darby, Sid and Ziggy have reminded me of the most powerful tool, the most effective method I know of to build positive feelings and momentum in our lives... giving.  When we give of ourselves we gain far more in return... the more we give the more we get.  Here we are at Thanks-Giving and the perfect opportunity to see the holiday as we may never have before.  In generously offering Thanks to those who may not expect it we will be Giving ourselves more than we could expect... we may be rescuing ourselves. 

I am so lucky... so fortunate.  All the positive events in my life I mentioned earlier were centered around family and close friends.  Others may not have close family and friends to support them, to lean on, to chatter with and share life’s victories.  These folks may be near to us or they could be across the globe.  They may be in a caravan, fleeing a dangerous situation in search of a new home.  They could be homeless and sleeping on the streets or they may be the server who will be bringing you your food at your favorite local restaurant tomorrow evening... you just don’t know. 

You may not feel like I do.... you may not feel like you run off the energy of the sun but I am willing to bet it makes you feel good to make someone else smile.  I would also bet that you endure some degree of stress in your life that you would like to alleviate... that you would rescue yourself from if you only had a way.  In a busy store...hold a door open for someone and smile.  Sitting in traffic... let someone pull in front of you in and smile.  Visit someone who may be lonely, tip your servers a few extra bucks, drop off some groceries at a local food pantry. 

There are countless opportunities to Give Thanks and rescue yourself... we shouldn’t need a holiday to remind us.

Now go outside and have fun in the dirt!