For more than the last two decades, I’ve made a practice of saying “Thank you.” Just in general, to the Universe. Usually every day, stopping for a few moments in the morning and thanking the Universe for my life and my love, my friends and my family. Sometimes on the rough mornings it’s more gratitude that I’m still breathing. Sometimes I’ll forget for a while, but eventually I’ll remember and go back to doing it every day.

I don’t really talk about this practice of mine. It’s just what I do. It’s always struck me as the right thing to do.

The reason I’m mentioning it now, though, is because this year, as well as the last couple of years, have felt more fraught. People in the US (and elsewhere) are divided, seeking the easy path of hate instead of doing the hard work of understanding.

Recently, I’ve found myself not just being grateful on a regular basis but also trying to breathe more peace and understanding into the Universe.

I don’t know how effective my mindfulness and positive thoughts can be. Not saying it doesn’t help. However, I’ve always believed that in addition to “thoughts and prayers” there also needs to be action.

I used to volunteer once or twice a month. Then the day I used to volunteer on was in conflict with another monthly event, so I quit. The last year or so I’ve been uprooted. I’m starting to feel settled. It’s time to get back to it. Starting in 2019, I’m going to start volunteering once a month again. There are a few options out here. Will investigate and pick one.

And that’s one more thing for me to feel grateful about – that I have the time, space, capacity to do the work, at least some of the time.

If you’re in the US, I hope that the approaching holiday is as stress free as possible. Otherwise, just enjoy your week.