On this day I have gratitude and in the spirit of Thanksgiving I’m grateful for so many things. The obvious, friends and family, all my loved ones of course. The semi-obvious, my health something to not be taken for granted and for this I owe thanks. I give thanks for all of the wonderful light filled souls out there who make this world a little better. There’s more I owe thanks for. Despite my sorrows and pain my sensei has taught me it is only through knowing immense pain that we come to know joy. Without pain we wouldn’t have a reference point for happiness and joy. Life would not be the very platform for learning it is without the downs. The ups are easy to digest, but the downs are the ones that take time to process, consider, ponder, fester, agonize and require of us our greatness. It’s through pain we arrive at pleasure. It’s through sorrow we’ll come to be grateful for the joy. It’s through adversity we can rise and gain strength. It’s through challenges in this incarnation we become empowered. It’s through learning we understand the need for awakening. It’s through the awakening we come to liberate ourselves.While the road ahead is bumpy, less traveled, and may not offer a clear path I’m grateful for what I’ve come to know thus far. I’m grateful for the insights I’ve had through my desire to want to get to the depths of my pain. I’m grateful for the great masters who have shared their wisdom and helped lift my spirits in the depths of my despair. I’m grateful I have hope of a better tomorrow. And if not a better tomorrow, but a more enlightened tomorrow. While the pain may persist through a quest for greater understanding and meaning and through a persistent desire to overcome and grow, tomorrow may present a little more clarity. And for that I’m grateful. My Guru-ji taught me gratitude keeps us grounded. Without gratitude we will live in a perpetual state of victimhood. When we start to be grateful for even the smallest things life takes on new perspective. We live from a place of thanks versus a gnawing feeling of sorrow and sadness. Through gratitude we can find compassion. We let go of the “Me” in the equation and see there is a great big world out there full of people who are full of problems, perhaps even greater than ours. Through gratitude despite the pain we are offered an opportunity to live powerfully. One of my greatest teachers has been the Dalai Lama, a constant proponent of being in the practice of gratitude and compassion. And for these lessons and insights I’m forever grateful. With this knowing I can balance the overwhelming pain and sorrow with a small sense of joy and gratitude and for that I’m truly thankful.