Gopher Gulch: Gratitude is good stuff for what ails you

Written by Inez Castor November 23, 2011 04:38 pm

If you pay much attention to the news, you might find it difficult to be properly thankful this year.

Our community is full of tweakers that are ripping off the rest of us while the Board of Supervisors  worries about marijuana dispensaries. People who served at the community dinner last Thanksgiving may well be homeless this year, and far too many people are unemployed. On the national level ... we don’t want to go there, do we?

Nevertheless, Thanksgiving is still my favorite holiday. That could have something to do with the news sources I subscribe to. The Del Norte Triplicate and one weekly news magazine are my only sources of what passes for news these days.

The Trip lets me know what’s happening locally so that I’m aware of strangers in the neighborhood, can congratulate the kids and notice which elected officials deserve my precious vote.

 The magazine “The Week,” is a well-balanced synopsis of world news from many sources, and permits me to vote responsibly on other than local issues.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but I’m filled with gratitude and the milk of human kindness largely because I have no clue what’s going on. I go about my peaceful life unaware of the crisis of the day until long after it’s passed, in much the way everyone did a few decades ago. If you’re in a position to do likewise, I highly recommend the tactic in the interest of mental health.

I’m grateful for one other subscription, “Funny Times,” a monthly magazine on newsprint. It takes the news and, in cartoons and essays, turns it inside out, upside down and finds the humor in it. It’s a huge factor in helping me maintain perspective.

Actually, gratitude isn’t for a time of year, but for health all year. You can’t be grateful and impatient simultaneously, or grateful and angry. Hold gratitude close in your heart and broadcast it widely in your actions. Gratitude immunizes you against, anger, envy and road rage. It opens your heart to the glory of life and defends against high blood pressure and feelings of superiority. It’s good stuff. You don’t need a prescription and you cant OD.

There is no right way to celebrate Thanksgiving, and celebrations evolve and change with the changes in our lives. The family with several generations nearby will celebrate differently than the single person who works holidays so co-workers can be with those families. There are turkey families and ham families, eat-in and eat-out families. There are families who came about in the usual way and  families who have chosen each other. There are those who participate in the community Thanksgiving dinner and those who invite friends in to celebrate.

Whatever form your holiday celebration takes, set aside a few minutes for a private expression of gratitude. Walk alone at the beach or in the forest or soak quietly in a tub of hot water and realize how fortunate you truly are.

Reach Inez Castor, a longtime Triplicate columnist, at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it