Giving Thanks

I heard today that ~17% of people in this country don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That’s 1 in 6 people! 49,000,000 people; and 17,000,000 of those are children. ( http://www.philly.com/inquirer/front_page/20091117_Hungry_millions__USDA_documents_leap.html)
And those are 2008 statistics. Since then, there are more unemployed people, more foreclosures. I have heard some politicians say that if people are hungry, it’s their own fault. I have heard others say that hunger isn’t a problem. Those comments make me angry, because the people making those statements obviously aren’t paying attention to what is going on in this country. It’s a disgrace that anyone in this country should go hungry. Local food banks are stretched to their limits.

But there is hope if all of us give what we can to our local food bank. To see what you can do to help, go to: http://feedingamerica.org/
If all of us donate just one can of food to the local food bank, do you know how big an impact that could have? In thanksgiving, I challenge you to give at least one can of food a week to your local food bank (more if you can). And don’t stop when the holiday season is over – hunger happens all year.

How do you want to be remembered?

What would you like people to say at your eulogy? What will they say? Most of us find it hard to be objective and see ourselves as others do. Think about it. Write your ideal obituary. Now look at it. Is that who you really are? If so, good for you; if not, how can you live up to how you want people to remember you. Start now. Take one thing at a time and change it. Trying to change everything at once isn’t always possible, so pick the most important behavior or attitude you want to change and create a plan. Give yourself a few days to come up with the plan; change it, refine it, add to it, delete from it; but set a time limit. It would be very easy to just keep changing the plan and never implementing it. Once you put the plan into motion, you can refine it, but follow it. Give yourself 3 weeks to change. Once you have changed that first characteristic, start working on the next one. You may find that changing just one thing will trigger changes in other areas of your life, and some of those things you want to change will change on their own.

Let me know how it goes for you.

Lest we forget

November 11th is Veterans Day. In spite of what the TV commercials tell us, it is not a day to go shopping for bargains; it is a day to honor all veterans.

Veterans Day began November 11, 1918, when an armistice was observed at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. World War 1 didn’t officially end until June, 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed.

Originally known as Armistice Day, it was set aside to honor all veterans when Congress changed the name from Armistice Day, a day to celebrate and honor WWI veterans, to Veterans Day, to honor and celebrate all veterans.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you agree with a particular war, our veterans deserve a vote of thanks from us. I’m sure your community has a ceremony to honor its veterans, alive and dead, present and past. Will you be there?

Relaxation

We all live such busy lives it’s sometimes hard to find time to truly relax. Here’s an exercise to help:

Lie on your back on the floor or on the bed with your hands and arms lying next to your body. Try to breathe evenly but don’t focus on your breathing. Starting at your toes, curl your toes under and tense the muscles in your feet. Focus on tensing the muscles in your ankles, then your calves, your knees, thighs, and all the way up your body, including your shoulder, neck, and facial muscles. Hold the tension. Now starting with your toes, relax the muscles in the same order in which you tensed them.

This exercise is so you can feel the difference between tense and relaxed. During the day, check your muscles. Are they feeling tensed up? Relaxed? Now that you can tell the difference, you should be able to relax muscles that are feeling tense. Pay close attention to back, shoulder, and neck muscles, especially if you sit at a desk all day.