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I haven’t been blogging much, but I’ve been Tweeting and Facebooking (is that a word?) often. I usually check all my accounts around 5:15 am, just before I leave for work. As I sat down with Twitter on the morning of November first, it struck me  – I didn’t plan it, honest! – to write what I was thankful for every morning until Thanksgiving. Those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook have seen these, and I thank you for your comments. We had some nice discussions. My Twitter feed also shows on my blog homepage, but  sometimes I tweet often, so you may have missed what I was doing. Anyway, I figured I’d compile all the Tweets into one blog post for easy reference. Here ya go….

This year, Gayle is thankful for:

  1. All my loved ones are healthy
  2. My rights as an US citizen (it was Election Day)
  3. My little warm house
  4. Opportunities to improve myself
  5. The little furry ball of sweetness that greets me in the morning with a gift, and loves me unconditionally
  6. The sound of children’s (ok, teen!) voices in my home
  7. Sweats, thick newspapers, and friends who invite me out
  8. My husband who lets me follow my path, which isn’t always the same one he’s on
  9. Early morning TV weathermen, especially the goofy ones. I need goofy weather this early in the morning.
  10. Warm breakfasts and latte in a bottle
  11. Friends – online and in person
  12. My job. As frustrating as it can be, I have it, I’m good at it so it comes easy, and my coworkers are nice.
  13. I live close enough to major cities so I can enjoy them , but don’t have to live in them
  14. Modern medicine and pharmaceuticals that help people live life to the fullest
  15. Indoor plumbing, hot water, and electricity that I don’t have to think about
  16. Wonderful family and friends who love me
  17. A healthy body that works the way it’s designed to. Eyes that see, legs that walk, brain that thinks, heart that loves.
  18. All material things I have been blessed to have: food, clothing, shelter, car…
  19. That I live in a country with easy access to fresh food and clean water. And chocolate Rice Krispies.
  20. Meeting with groups of like-minded, and sometimes not like-minded, people where I can feel unity as well as learn
  21. So many generous people who are willing to donate to organizations that help others
  22. Warm Sun, silvery Moon, generous blue-green Earth
  23. The ability to read, and that the opportunities to educate myself through reading is boundless
  24. Laughter, things that make me laugh, and the joy of making someone laugh
  25. Time, and not just on holidays. Precious moments with family and friends, enjoy every second. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

“Go over and over your beads, paint weird designs on your forehead, wear your hair matted, long, and ostentatious, but when deep inside you there is a loaded gun, how can you have God?” ~ Kabir

We are nice to our coworkers – until that one jerk steals our idea. We patiently run our errands – until the woman with 20 items is ahead of us on the express line. We are courteous drivers – until the turkey in the giant SUV cuts us off. We go about our days following the usual childhood rules – until something pushes our buttons and compassion goes out the window. You can call that something Satan, or evil, or human nature, whatever. But that devil is us. We choose our behaviors, there is no way around that. We allow the fear and anger to take over for a little while, and after we mess up, we ask forgiveness. We are forgiven. Then we go right back to our usual patterns of thinking of ourselves as the center of the Universe.

With effort, we can break out of the cycle. Mindfulness is a difficult path to walk, but it works. All those self-help tricks: deep breaths, counting to ten, thinking of a STOP sign when you feel the emotions coming… they all help to snap you out of the moment, push that evil away and stay focused on the way you want to behave.

I just finished reading Immaculee Ilibagiza’s story Left to Tell, her awe-inspiring story of surviving Rwanda’s genocide through luck and prayer, silently hidden in a tiny bathroom with seven other women for three months. I read this book in four hours, couldn’t put it down, and recommend it highly whether you believe in the power of prayer or not.

So many murders, wars, genocides; so much hate and insanity in God’s name, it’s amazing. There is an email joke that goes around occasionally, an email from God and boy he’s pretty pissed at what he’s seeing go on in his name. “Truth in jest” at its finest.

I believe there is one omniscient Truth, and it’s wise enough to know that not every ignorant human is going to receive it in the same way. We enjoy going through life looking through our me-colored glasses. Me me me me me. It only goes to figure that we need that Truth to come to us in a package that will break through whatever filters we’re wearing and resonate with our hearts. Truth’s name is God, since we can’t resist sticking a label on everything we see, hear, touch, smell and taste.

God has a huge closet, with an outfit for every occasion and sensibility. Some people need God to wear flowing white robes and live in the clouds, while some need God to wear saffron robes. Some need God to wear a crown of thorns, and some see God – and Goddesses –  in all of nature’s splendor. Some see God wearing bejeweled turbans, while some don’t use the name God at all but still recognize the beauty of the Universe’s energy in its atomic and molecular building blocks, chemistry and physics.

All of these ways Truth comes to us, they are all legitimate. They all work. They all preach the same thing: compassion, balance, kindness. The words are a little different, the translations from ancient languages may not be perfect, but the lesson is there. The Golden Rule is the same no matter what book, scroll, or tablet you find it in.

I don’t know – to me it seems so simple. When I find a fact that is backed up by other vetted sources, I believe it until I find it to be untrue. We have at least seven, probably more like ten, major religions (or non-religions, as the case may be) on this planet and they all point in the same direction.

Truth wears many costumes to help us see it. But as it flows through us, it looks the same. It looks like love.

Do you get the munchies after exercising? I know I do. And, oddly, I’m usually in the mood for something healthy! How weird is that? I still sometimes like something sweet, so I try to keep some dried fruit on hand – sometimes to eat by itself, or sometimes to throw in a salad (craisins for salad, usually. Apricots otherwise).

I know some people crave carbs and chemicals – mostly in the form of Snickers bars and diet soda! If you really crave a sugary snack after exercising, try keeping some fruit snacks (the good, expensive kind that are made of real fruit, not those cartoon-shaped ones you feed the kids) in your gym bag.

If you need the mouth sensation of eating a cookie, avoid the fattening cookies and try for one that’s not so bad. You can have 8 Nilla wafers for 140 calories, as opposed to only 2 Double Stuffed Oreos for the same calorie hit. When it comes to a sugar crave, eight is way better than two.

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