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Reflection of the Day: Thanksgiving

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While I would usually be posting a “Quote of the Day” at this time, I thought that with it being Thanksgiving (at least as recognized in the U.S.), that it would be good to reflect a little about what I have to be thankful for, just as I encourage everyone to do: today and every day.

This Thanksgiving I find that it is especially important for me to give thanks for what is in my life.  I have been so fortunate in my life by many standards, and while with the events of the past several months and several years, one could easily be in a state of thinking that they had very little; any objective or at least broadly contextualized standard shows the opposite.

First, and foremost there is the gift of life that we all have.  As with every living being on this planet, we each are the result of billions of years and iterations of success.  Each of our ancestors survived to have children, and those directly led to our being here now.

But, humankind is special on this planet, because we also all have the gift of thought and desire to actively share those thoughts.  We can recognize not only ourselves, we have the potential to recognize our challenges, and to overcome them.  We also are the only species on this planet to actively teach our future generations the lessons we have learned from our own.  While we have great challenges ahead of us as a humankind, where our development of technology has the potential to lead to a great dark age of humankind or worse; we also have the potential to solve our problems, and help future generations to solve theirs, by the actions we take today.

For my life personally, I have a wonderful family and wonderful friends.  These past 6 months, as I have been unemployed, people have reached out to help my family.  It is hard to take this help, partly because I have some “pride”, but also because I know there are so many more who have less than I, with less of a safety net.  In fact, being without a high source of income and seeing the potential to have none, has given me such greater appreciation for how all of us are equalized in the potential for lack.  And it gives me reason to not forget where I am now, so that when I am once again in a place of more plenty, I will work to a greater degree to give back more to my human family. (And yes, I say “more plenty” because even now, my life is bountiful compared to my human brothers and sisters starving in famine.)

There are also the blessings to be found in the learning from adversity.  My childhood was relatively easy, where my angst of teenagerhood came from deep searches for meaning, not survival.  I had many amazing teachers that have helped me to be where I am now, starting with my parents, through those I had in primary school, high school, and college.  And, I grew up in a religion founded upon positive thinking, not “original sin”.

As I have worked in situations of adversity over the past few years, my past could have only given me a Pollyanna and ivory tower disposition.  But, there is a critical difference between recognizing the need for optimism, and being blindly optimistic.  Without recognizing true problems, we can not solve them.  Without having worked with people who were at times actively working against me,  I could not have put my values of continually working for a win-win to the test.  I now see that zero sum games do exist at times, yet I also see that we can work together to change these to infinite games, and that the term “game” is apropos.

And now when I have been able to let go of where I was, there is so much potential in front of me, as I have once heard “When nothing is known, anything is possible”:  Recruiters are calling me on the phone for tech jobs, and colleges are expressing interest in me for professorships, and work I have done with organizations in the past may also lead to my next career, or at least some interim employment. So while I must be careful at this point to not over-tip my hand, as there could still be a very real possibility of having nothing by January 1st, which is about when my unemployment insurance will run out, there is also the real possibility of moving forward into something greater than I have done in the past, which can further my path towards being part of the further progress of our human family, such that we may all thrive in this ever changing world.

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Written by Jacob Walker

November 28th, 2013 at 10:00 am

Posted in Philosophy

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  1. […] shared this quote yesterday in my reflection about Thanksgiving, but I didn’t go into where it came […]

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