Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Happy Black Friday! by Barry A. Dennis

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Thank you to our friend Barry Dennis for this timely and thought-provoking post. Barry is the author of The Chotchky Challenge – Clear the Clutter from Your Home, Heart, and Mind…and Discover the True Treasure of Your Soul. He is also a musician, inspirational speaker, and coach. We loved attending a service at his Coexist Celebration Church in Oregon where Jim was asked to speak on Kindness. We took “The Chotchky Challenge” and have benefited greatly. Will you join us?


Happy Black Friday!

by guest blogger Barry A. Dennis

To date, I have received 3 e-mails celebrating the joys of Black Friday. Not one wishing me a happy Thanksgiving. Each one of these e-mails came from some entity doing their very best to convince me that I will be happier if I buy more stuff.

I know this may sound crazy, but I had no idea what Black Friday was until 3 years ago. I overheard someone say, “Black Friday is my favorite holiday”. I asked them “What’s Black Friday?” They looked at me like I was crazy. And, well, maybe I am. Really. This is a distinct possibility. I might be certifiably nuts.

Or maybe, just maybe, our society is a little insane. It could go either way. The jury is still out.

Despite what you may have heard, the term Black Friday began in Philadelphia in the early 1960s by the police department referring to the chaos that ensued the Friday after Thanksgiving. Later, retail employees picked up the term. And, let me assure you, in both instances it was not an endearing label. An employee who worked at a department store in the early 70s wrote the following…

“The dire warnings came from the sweet older women that took me under their wings at John Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia shortly after I was hired as temporary holiday help in October 1971. They warned me to be prepared for the hoards of obnoxious brats and their demanding parents that would alight from the banks of elevators onto the eighth floor toy department. The feeling of impending doom sticks with me to this day. The experienced old ladies that had worked there for years called it ‘Black Friday’. I’m quite sure it had nothing to do with store ledgers going from red to black.”

I titled my book The Chotchky Challenge because it is very challenging to change how we see the world, to question it. To most literally… change our mind. And yet, in order to evolve, change is required.

I submit to you the possibility that the “hoards of obnoxious brats” referred to by the employee from the department store were not inherently obnoxious or bratty. But, through the slow and steady process of entitlement that is not only accepted in our society but also encouraged, the kids became what we want them to become. Good consumers full of “wanting” which can make anyone a little obnoxious.

You see each email I received exalting the joys of black Friday were attempting what is called “the creation of wanting”. This is the goal. To actually create in me a “wanting” that can never be fulfilled. They are trying to bring about in me a feeling that something is missing.

The goal is not to create thank-fullness. To do so would help me in my journey to know my inherent “fullness”. And if I know my inherent fullness, I will never feel the need to acquire in an attempt to fill some emptiness.

We all know, in our heart of hearts, we cannot continue doing things the way we have. It’s time to evolve. To change. To question everything. And so, I have a “Chotchky Challenge” for us all. This Black Friday, fill your “soul ledgers” from red to black. Here’s all you have to do. Be deeply grateful for everything you already have! Give from your abundance. “Let go” instead of “take in”.

And, if you do go into the chaos, I challenge you to consider your “soul hero”, that being the one you feel most embodied the Divine. Maybe Buddha, or Jesus or Mother Theresa or Paramahansa Yogananda or..? And then ask yourself “is this what they had in mind?”

Isn’t it strange that the holidays (holy days) are the most materialistic time of the year?

Isn’t it strange that the holidays (holy days) are the most materialistic time of the year?

But please, do not take my word for it. Remember…

I might be just be crazy!

~ Barry A. Dennis

Author of The Chotchky Challenge – Clear the Clutter from Your Home, Heart, and Mind…and Discover the True Treasure of Your Soul.

Chotchky_Challenge Barry Dennis

The Chotchky Challenge book by Barry Dennis

The Productive Power of Gratitude. What are you grateful for?

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Giving thanks for all we have in our lives…and the related feeling of gratitude…is one of the most powerful tools we have to use as human beings.  Maintaining a grateful disposition improves virtually everything in our lives, including our health and well-being, and our relationships with others. Being grateful opens our hearts and displaces emotions, such as greed and envy, that do not serve us.

Being grateful for your partner, for your health, for anything important to you…even another day to live on this Earth…will make you happier, more at ease, and more peaceful with those around you.  We can find so much to be thankful for when we look at our lives honestly, gently, and without judging.

A simple, powerful way to practice gratitude is to regularly write down what we are grateful for, big or small.  This exercise helps us realize the fullness of the gifts and blessings we receive and gives our lives more meaning and depth.  It helps us realize the “why” we need in order to wisely choose what we do and how we do it.  A variation on this is to regularly verbalize in affirmation or prayer what we are grateful for.  Cultivating gratefulness also helps us through periods of instability and chaos to a more serene and peaceful inner landscape.

The fundamental challenge to living in gratitude is the lack of awareness of our interconnectedness.  So even if we know about gratitude, we don’t feel the value in practicing it.  This lack of awareness is a result of many things: scarcity caused by competition instead of collaboration, an “us versus them” survival of the fittest mindset, and the idea that humankind holds dominion over nature rather than being part of nature itself.  Our modern culture is operating with an uneven balance by focusing on materialism over spirituality which can breed fear…fear of trusting, of growing, of dreaming, of trying.  This can make it hard to open our hearts.

Gratitude is a feeling we build over time which creates positive momentum in our lives and  opens our hearts. This is critical, not just for personal growth and finding our balance, but because each of us relies on others in order to live. Through practicing gratitude we realize our profound connection with and appreciation for one another and the world that supports us.  Then harmony follows.  And through humble, intentional gratitude we may find happiness.

What are you grateful for? We would love to hear your stories of gratitude, if you would like to share in the comments section below.

Thank you! We are grateful for you.
~ Jim and Lisa