Counselor's Corner: Gratitude in the moment

 This Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving. We give thanks for freedom, family, friends and football. On this day these four gifts converge into a symphony of gratitude and wellbeing. Thanksgiving or “giving thanks” allows us to appreciate others and the gift that other people are to us. We let go of our “mildly narcissistic egos,’ for a moment, to reflect with gratitude on our blessings and to become aware that not everyone is as fortunate as we are to live in freedom, have family around us, and enjoy close friendships.

Thanksgiving is an inspiring reminder to approach life with gratitude. It can be easy to slip into a rut of negativity and experience ourselves as a victim of other people’s negativity. Each of us can immerse ourselves into what is wrong with life, people and things. When we do this we become critical and negative and lose whatever sense of peace and wellbeing we have possessed. 

On Thanksgiving Day there is an atmosphere that shouts to us — “Be thankful about something today.” A sense of fellowship and community and family belonging stirs in our hearts. Sure, there are limitations in all of us. No one is perfect. But this stirring in our hearts to be kinder and gentler toward others keeps pulling at us. We feel this almost internal pressure to be on our best thankful behavior. 

The radio and television keeps expressing the theme of Thanksgiving. It appears like the world has stopped for one day and the theme of gratitude pervades everything. We enter into a milieu of appreciation. We might not be feeling grateful at every moment but it almost seems like every moment is filled with some sense of gratefulness. It could be a song, a TV commercial or program or a football game. Gratitude is in the air. As we become grateful for something a deeper sense of peace enters into us. If only every day could be a Thanksgiving Day. Good friends, good family, good fun, good food.

On this one day of the year we are challenged to focus on what should be an everyday experience: gratefulness of the present moment. When we give thanks for something, our hearts and minds open up to something deep and peaceful. It is like we have entered into an almost Divine Realm where a sense of appreciation and thanks propel us into an almost mystical experience of God.

Each moment of life can be a Divine Experience of peace and love. It is the essence of Thanksgiving Day. But it can be the essence of each moment of life.

Pause to look at what you are doing right now. Focus attentively on whoever is speaking with you. Look at the first thing your eyes see. Take it in. Experience it. And be thankful for what you are experiencing. In whatever you see, whatever you touch or feel or hear you are having an experience of something Profoundly Divine. There is a Power and Source of energy within everyone and within everything which directly leads back to the Fundamental Power Source of everything. This is called God, the Power Source of Love and Wisdom.

We so easily forget that there is an energy source in everyone and everything which keeps us and everything in existence. When we focus on this Source which is present in everything and everyone a powerful sense of gratitude surfaces. In this gratefulness we become more open to a sense of peace and love which comes directly from this Power into our hearts and minds and bodies. In becoming grateful we allow ourselves to be connected to everyone and everything in a humble and open manner. Then everything about life opens up to us. To be truly grateful we start becoming humble and receptive.

Be grateful in the moment for whatever you see and experience. Life is only in this moment. Live this moment with awareness and experience the moment. Each day and each moment will be a day of Thanksgiving where freedom, family, friends, food and even football have an even more powerful experience upon us. It is the ever present experience of God which is always surrounding us.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is