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If each day this year has felt like it’s been an endless onslaught of too many choices… And if the uncertainty and lack of information on how to make decisions right now is sucking your energy so much so that things like “What should I do for lunch?” seems like a final exam you didn’t study for… And if you feel like you need someone to just tell you what to do so you can relax for a hot second…

Let me take one thing off your plate this Thanksgiving.

When you’re Zooming with Nana and Auntie over mashed potatoes and gravy on Thursday you’ll inevitably be asked the question, “What are you thankful for this year?” Instead of self-performing an excavation on your brain with your serving spoon for any sort of crumb of thankfulness, why don’t you pass the gravy boat and just let me tell you what you’re thankful for?

The world we live in is designed to subtly and repeatedly reinforce your deep, dark insecurities. Our brains don’t offer much help in the matter either. Marketing campaigns and advertisers know that if they throw a couple well-placed jabs at our insecurities and inadequacies, we will, by virtue of our own minds, start self-sabotaging by adding in hooks, combos, and haymakers until we are broke on the flat of our backs. It’s an endless loop that preys like a virus because for it to survive, it needs you to buy things. Why else would “Black Friday” be set up IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING a day where the whole country is shut down and not buying anything?

We live in a world with a default setting of “Give me more, give me more, I need this, I need that” and most of the time we aren’t thankful enough for the things we should be consciously and deliberately choosing how much we actually need. Our minds automatically revert to this omniscient feeling of inadequacy and ultimately, that alone is what is keeping us from feeling happy.

The word choice of “feeling happy” instead of “being happy” is easy to overlook. But “happiness” is a practice, not an end result or permanent settlement. We can practice happiness through being grateful.

Your body.

I mean, look at you. Seriously. What a work of art. A nothing-short-of-gorgeous masterpiece, if you will. When was the last time you looked at yourself? Let’s be real, you’re a fucking stunner. And in that spectacular body of yours there’s some absolutely extraordinary things working for you.

Your heart.

Yes, both physical and metaphorical. And how you feel things in the world. Your heart is a muscle. And muscles only get stronger by repeatedly lifting things that are specifically designed to weigh you down. Whatever battle you are fighting right now, whatever you’ve got going on in your life that has got you feeling like you’re not enough, it is there to prove to you that you are enough. The proof only comes after the dust has settled and it is so simple that you’re missing it altogether, and that is the fact that you’re doing battle with it in the first place. If you don’t have hard shit in your life going on you’re likely dead.

Your breath.

Specifically your ability to take a big breath. Right now: go for it. Now, your local yoga teacher will likely have you focus on the exhaling part of the breath. The exhale gets all the hype because it pairs well with “Let it alllllll go” and clichés like that but what’s underappreciated is your ability to take in as much as you think you need at any point in your day… INHALE – take the whole world in, take as much as you want and then take more. You don’t think about it because you don’t have to pay for it. But how good does that feel?

These things are your life and how you choose to live it.

And how you choose to feel about it. You’re here. Alive. And with your body, your heart, and your breath, you are constantly in a position to reinvent yourself as many times you’d like and in whatever capacity you desire with whatever tools you have. The limiting factor in your life will always be time and not things. In a tiny instant or a global disaster, life can take away anything that you own and it certainly has a funny way of taking all your time away too.

But if you have the ability to be thankful even the slightest bit—to really be happiness— you’ll find that each breath and each heartbeat is a gentle unwavering reminder,

“You’re here. You’re alive.”

Billy Hafferty

Billy Hafferty is probably still hanging out of the passenger side of his best friend's ride trying to holler at you.

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