In honour of Canadian Thanksgiving (yes it’s real and yes it’s earlier than it’s USA twin), I felt it appropriate to use this little blog space of mine to give thanks.

We have so much to be thankful for. In a time when there is such unrest and discord in the world it’s easy to get lost in all the negative. It’s not to say that we shouldn’t give those situations attention, relief, donations and help when we can but we should also take the time for us, to be thankful for what we have.

Sometimes we get caught up in a world of wanting the next best thing without appreciating what we have in front of us. There’s a life we live attached to screens, face pointed downward and illuminated by the glow of social media and that hypnosis keeps us from really enjoying, appreciating and being thankful for what we do have. We forget to see the leaves on the trees changing colour or the way the clouds are moving, we forget to say thank-you to the barista pouring our coffee or hold the door open for the person behind us.

I’ve tried a lot, recently especially to take the time to give thanks, to extend thanks to other people as well. After traveling to some devastatingly poor communities in the last year, it opened my eyes to how fortunate I am. It opened my heart as well and led me to be not only more compassionate but also really want to help give people around the world something be thankful for as well. Sometimes all it takes is to give time, sometimes it’s giving something we see as something tiny. When I was working I would hand out stickers or keychains to kids and to see the light in their eyes when they held a shining golden keychain was unreal. It’s amazing what a simple act of acknowledgement, of appreciation, of love or friendship can do for someone, to give them a smile and maybe something to feel thankful for.

We do have a lot to be thankful for, if you can read this you can be thankful for your teachers. If you have a coffee on your desk you can be thankful for the farmers, the roasters and the people helping you get that caffeine fix (I thank them daily!) and if you have a place to read this, whether it’s a comfortable living room, a library or even on the bus to work or school you can be thankful you have those spaces available.

I’m a firm believer in what you put out into the world, is what ‘your’ world is made up of. If you find yourself going through every day with a scowl and mumbling how much you hate everything, it’s going to make it hard for those good things to break through that and your mind will naturally¬† start looking for things to reaffirm that things are as bad as you’re saying. On the flip side, if you try to see things positively and with gratitude, it’s easier for you to see those opportunities in your day to day life, people are more likely to extend those back to you and it grows our communities stronger and more optimistic.

I’m thankful for so much on this and every Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for the air in my lungs that lets me run and hike and get up every morning. I’m thankful for my family for all they’ve done to support me as son and brother first and as a photographer as well. I’m thankful for my friends and fellow artists for inspiring me always and pushing me to be the best I can. I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had in the last few years, to travel, to teach and to try to extend happiness to people around the world.

I challenge you today, on Canadian Thanksgiving to extend your thanks. To look for those small things that make you happy, help make your life easier or give you an extra boost in your day. Send a message to a friend to say thanks for all they do, tip your coffee server an extra buck or two in gratitude for them helping keep you boosted and look for other ways to extend that gratitude, it’s a ripple effect and you never know, your thankfulness and gratitude does goes a long way in someone’s life.