Announcement! NEW ALBUM!

Here it is, folks. The first official announcement for my next album! I released my second album, The Hour Before the Dawn, in April, but my third album was already in early production by then. I felt like I was rushing into things starting another album before the one before was even released. But, when the Awen hits, it’s advisable to let it flow!

This third album can be seen as kind of a prequel to The Hour Before the Dawn, since Dawn is about the dawning day, this new album logically can be seen as a precursor—an album of the night, of dreamtime.

It’s called The King of Dreams, and as you can guess, it’s all about dreams.

The King of Dreams has been the album I’ve really wanted to record since the beginning. I knew it would have to wait until I knew exactly what I was doing, but boy it was worth the wait. I’ve had a blast working on this album, and I can’t wait to share it with you all!

The title track opens the album, inviting you to ponder dreams, to watch the rising moon and see the mysterious face of the Man in the Moon: the emissary of sleep, the sand man. The King of Dreams. The rest of the album unfolds from there and takes you down a moonbeam road to the realm of the fae, the shores of Selene, the garden of the mind, the court of nightmare, the outer reaches of space and time, and all the way to the dawn of a brand new day.

I’m also super excited because I got some really really cool artwork coming my way for the album cover. A friend and co-worker of mine does fantastic spacescapes (you can find him under Orbium Cellar Paintings on Facebook), and as soon as I saw his art I knew I needed some for the cover. I have the artwork in hand, and I can’t wait to show you!

So when can you expect to be able to hear The King of Dreams? Anticipate an early 2017 release—March most likely. Keep an eye out for some audio glimpses at the album, more news of the release, and how you can help! I’ll be posting updates primarily on my Facebook page. I’m really looking forward to releasing this manifested dream to the world!

Keep on dreamin’ those big dreams.

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Car Crashes, Concerts, Connections

It has been an utter whirlwind of events, excitement, and accidents! I can’t even begin to process the (ofttimes blissful) mayhem that has occurred over the last two weeks.

We headed out to attend CalderaFest, a wondrous, magical Pagan Music Festival (appropriately nicknamed the Pagan Woodstock by some), and it was much more than I could have ever imagined! So many wonderful musicians and bands, many of them favorites of mine for the last 6 years.

But amidst the excitement, this happened:


Yep, we totaled our car. But luckily everything worked out, and the witnesses of the wreck turned out not only to be festival goers and amazing people who helped us out a lot, but also members of International Pagan Radio. It wasn’t long before our conversation went from car insurance and cops to pagan music. And now my music is on IPR for everyone to enjoy!

IPR Welome banner

Our day went from festival excitement to car crashes, back to festival excitement (though we sadly missed the much anticipated set from Mama Gina, with whom I’m performing in October at a house concert here in Kansas City!)

And to top it all off, on our way home I was invited to play at the Three Gates Gathering, where Rowena of the Glen, a CalderaFest performer, will also perform! I’m very excited for this opportunity, as I’m still riding on the festival energy from CalderaFest, and it’s sure to be an amazing experience.

So yeah, it’s been a wild few weeks here, but overall it’s been fantastic!


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Rambling Bran: Right Speech and Politics


You’ve seen it plenty of times, I’m sure: A meme, an article, a post attacking a politician, and since we’re knee deep in the political season, it’s running rampant. Whether it be Trump, Sanders, Clinton, or Cruz, these personal attacks are everywhere.

So what? you may ask. It happens every time there’s anything of significance within politics, you might point out. True enough, but we have to ask ourselves: What benefit do we lend when we spread gossip or slander or curse at an opposing politician?

We all can get political. We all rally behind our politicians of choice, and that’s perfectly fine. That’s what we’re kind of supposed to do. But the mistake comes when we harbor resentment for another politician, when we cherish that resentment more than we do our own support for whomever we’ve designated as the chosen one.

I’ve been thinking recently on the third aspect of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, Right Speech. If you’re familiar with the Eightfold Path, you might know that Right Speech discourages lying, slandering, gossip, and harsh speech. Basically, refrain from anything that will cause discord among our fellow human beings.

Then I recalled an anecdote that Joseph Goldstein told on the topic of Right Speech. In this book Transforming the Mind, Healing the World he describes an experiment he conducted when practicing being mindful of his speech. What he did doesn’t seem all that hard at first, but when you conduct it yourself you find how just radical it really is.

He took up the task of not saying anything about anyone to whom he wasn’t talking. He wouldn’t say anything about anyone not present. Nothing good, nothing bad. And you know what happened? 90% of his speech vanished. He said “As I stopped speaking in this way, I found that one way or another a lot of my speech had been a judgment about somebody else.”

This idea made me think about the political atmosphere, and why we get involved in politics in the first place. And I think for the most part it’s because we want change. We have these ideas about what will make the world a better place. We have opinions on issues, policies, ideologies, and actions that could be taken to change things.

Our mistake comes when we begin to mistake those issues, policies, and ideologies for the politician promising to put into effect what we want. It somehow anthropomorphizes our desires and dreams and opinions, and where we can visualize our political deity, we will begin to visualize their antithesis—usually in the form of an opposing politician.

Then begins the mudslinging. We start hating the other politicians, we resent them, we wish them to drop dead, we make personal death wishes upon them. We stir the pot of ill will and discontent. Soon, the pot begins to boil over and we forget about our wish for positive change.

Our focus in the political race morphs into putting the other politicians down, trying to slander them into obscurity, slap an ugly mask on them. We completely lose focus on the real issues: changing the world—or at least the white house—for the better.

We can support ideas, issues, policies. Heck, we can even support the politicians who support our own ideas. But maybe we should reduce the shouting of names—whether it be for good or for bad—and start sharing our own ideas. Then, when we’ve collected our senses and decided what we truly do believe is the best for our politics, we can investigate which politician upholds our own views. Then, check the box with their name next to it.

It would work in a perfect world, sure, but we will continue to hear and see the vitriol from the opposing sides—and heck, the same side, too. What do we do then? Abandon this whole idea of this radical Right Speech experiment? No. We respond with kindness, patience, and a willingness to not always be right. Heck, maybe we should respond with silence.

Long story short, I can’t imagine that pointing fingers and slinging mud can help much. Especially if you’re deluded into thinking that slandering and cursing one politician will change anyone’s mind…that’s just never going to happen.

When someone shouted “F***ing Socialist!” at me the other day for my political bumper sticker, did I think “Oh, he has a point…”? Of course not. He probably wasn’t aware of how unhelpful his anger-fueled verbal attack was in the first place, and that’s the same with the vast majority of political attacks.

Again, ask yourself what benefit does it have to slander/curse another politician? Especially when it’s fueled by anger.

There’s that pesky saying of mine again: We Can’t Hold Hands when We’re Pointing Fingers.

Peace, (and I mean that)


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Bit By the Bardic Bug: Musings on Gulf Coast Gathering

This past week I had the great fortune to attend the second annual Gulf Coast Gathering of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids down in Louisiana.

At this point I’m not sure what to say about it other than I had an amazing time. The Gulf Coast Gathering (GCG) is such an amazing time with some really cool people that shortly become friends and family. There’s a level of connection that comes with such a gathering, and OBODies are really some of the coolest people I’ve known.

Our days were filled with scheduled workshops and talks and panel discussions and rituals, as well as the more naturey bits like visiting the Seven Sister Oak, a 1500 year old live oak, and a nature walk through the wilderness of Louisiana. But the best parts come in between those scheduled events, in my opinion, and some of my favorite memories come from impromptu, unplanned things (like when the kids virtually cornered me and begged me to play my song Badger in the Bag).

When there’s down time you’ll find people sitting around each other deep in discussion, and this is where the magic happens. You get to know these strangers that have come from across the United States—and beyond—to fellowship with their fellow Bards, Ovates, and Druids. Like I said before, they become family, and it’s always really hard to say goodbye when the weekend comes to an end.

But I always leave with a renewed sense of inspiration. When I left last year’s GCG I bubbled with the Awen as I prepared my first album Four Branches, and when I left last years East Coast Gathering in September, I sat down and started working on my upcoming album The Hour Before the Dawn (which comes out in less than two weeks!).

So coming back from this years GCG I’m once again bubbling with a cauldron full of Awen, and I almost don’t know what to do with it. But I said almost. I know what I’m going to do with it, and what I’m already doing with it, but I’ll wait a bit later this year to tell you! (spoilers!)

But leaving GCG I also learned a lot about myself, thanks to the inspiration, motivation, and words of wisdom of some of my closest GCG family. It’s hard to transition back into the “mundane” world, but sometimes you can take a step back and realize that you’re not stuck in a mundane world: the “magical” and “mundane” are one in the same. It’s your perspective that  makes it so, much like the Buddhist idea of samsara and nirvana. They’re the same, it’s just how you view them that makes them what they are.

So no, I’m not plunging back into the beige meh of mundanity. I’m stepping into a world full of lessons and teachers, of insights and inspirations. Sometimes they might look like hardships and things you’d rather not deal with, but really in the end they’re the flames that temper your “soul,” whatever that might mean to you.

For now, I’ll pick up my guitar and see where it takes me. As always I’m really excited with what I have on my plate Awen-wise, and I won’t let the everyday world discourage me.

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Pagan-Musings Podcast Interview

This past Sunday I had the great fortune to be on the Pagan-Musings Podcast to talk about my new album The Hour Before the Dawn as well as pagan music in general and to catch up with RevKess and KaliSara.

You can listen and/or download the show if you missed its live broadcast!

It’s always a pleasure to be on their show, and at times I had to remind myself I wasn’t just listening this time! It’s one of my favorite podcasts to listen to, and they always have something interesting to share with the listeners!

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We Can’t Hold Hands When We’re Pointing Fingers


You can purchase this bumper sticker!

For the last 5 or 6 years, my personal life motto has been “We Can’t Hold Hands When We’re Pointing Fingers,” and (despite the several silly attempts by people who literally try holding hands when pointing fingers) I think it’s an important thing to realize.

We can spout off about peace and about getting along and about tolerance and coexistence, but until we realize that the problem doesn’t just lie outside of ourselves–it’s actually within us, for the most part–it won’t really change. We need to realize that we can and do create this discord on a daily basis when we gossip, when we talk about someone behind each other’s backs, when we blame something on someone.

Blame. You might feel like it’s productive, that it makes a difference–and it does make a difference, but not a very productive one. It changes your mindset to make you believe that the problem lies within the other person.

And we see this mentality thrive like a cancer through society. “Well, everything’s messed up because of them!” or “It would all be better if it weren’t for them.” Even just “Ugh, why do they have to be here?”

I was reading Pema Chodron’s Practicing Peace in Times of War, and something she said really hit it on the head. “…as long as we justify our own hard-heartedness and our own self-righteousness, joy and peace will always elude us. We point our fingers at the wrongdoers, but we ourselves are mirror images; everyone is outraged at everyone else’s wrongness.” (Chodron, Practicing Peace in Times of War p.27)

So what do we do? What can we do with this information, this idea of letting that pointing finger fall open into an open hand?

We first work on ourselves. Conflict starts with ourselves. Your reaction to an adverse situation gets the ball of intolerance and hate rolling. Once you open your mouth and spew a mindless, negative word in the direction of someone to which you are opposed, the lines are drawn.

First, patience. When we feel the urge to react, don’t…at least not immediately. This can be a very difficult thing to do, but when you do it and sit with that anger and fear and aggression, not reacting on its behalf can be magical.

There’s no easy antidote to intolerance and its many manifestations, and I don’t have all the answers, but pointing those fingers and blaming others for the problems of the world won’t help.

On a lighter note, you can purchase a “We Can’t Hold Hands When We’re Pointing Fingers” bumper sticker! Spread the peace and tolerance! Every purchase comes with a free download of the song of the same name.


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Prairie Land Pagan Radio Interview

Today I appeared on the Prairie Land Pagan Radio podcast to talk about my music! There are two parts to it due to technical issues, but I had a lot of fun! Go listen!

Part 1 is here:

and Part 2 is here:

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The Hour Before the Dawn

It’s coming! No, not Winter, that’s been here for a while already. I’m talking about my new album! “The Hour Before the Dawn” is now available for pre-order!

It’s been almost a year since I set out to record my first album Four Branches: Tales of the Mabinogi in Song, and here I am releasing my second album already. It’s been quite a year of Awen, inspiration, and creativity, and I’m so blessed and fortunate for all the support I’ve gotten the last year. I’m so excited to see what this year has in store!

So, The Hour Before the Dawn, what is this one all about, anyway? Dawn is a departure from Four Branches’s Celtic storytelling theme as I focus closer to home. I turn inward and explore Nature and my own spirituality.

For example, the opening track Brothers of the Night is a piece I co-wrote with my brother years ago, and as one might imagine, it celebrates brotherhood and sisterhood of all kinds. The pagan community, as well as many spiritual paths, can come together to form a strong, family-like pack not unlike a wolf pack. This song celebrates the wolf packs of the world.

Then there’s the second track We Can’t Hold Hands When We’re Pointing Fingers. The title itself has been a personal motto for me for a long time, and it celebrates world peace, interfaith dialogue, community, and just plain ol’ getting along with each other.

And I Wish I Was a Tree is a song I wrote one February night when I discovered my Bardic, Druidic side, and has become a personal favorite of mine.

And then there’s the closing track, Early Bird. This song is where the album gets its title from. The chorus says: Do you sing for the night, do you sing for the day? Do you sing for the sake of the song? The song you sing I too will sing in the hour before the dawn. This song chronicles some of the most magical moments I’ve had in my life, nights where I decided on taking a midnight walk through the country roads of rural Kansas. Watching the night slowly turn to day has been an inspiring memory for me for years now.

Those are just a few glimpses behind a few of the songs on the album. It’s a much more natural, personal album for sure.

Oh, and if you pre-order the physical CD, it’ll come signed, and I’ll include a disc of bonus tracks and a few extra little goodies, too! Why wait?!

The artwork for the album is in the works by my wonderful wife, so stay tuned for that! I’m really excited about this one!

Spread the word!

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Season of Change

November has passed, and that means we’re diving headfirst into the holiday season. The solstice is creeping up on us fast, and Winter might as well show His cold face. We’ll clutch our hot cups of tea and coffee, bake our favorite comforting desserts and meals, and warm ourselves with the delight of family and friends.

And gifts, of course! But when it comes to gifts, I’d rather avoid the commercial bonanza of Black Friday and “unbelievable” deals. I’ve always found the best deal is, rather than “save 50% on a new TV!” is “save 100% and not buy that TV!”

As children, we relish the idea of finding presents under the tree from Santa, but as we grow, we seem to outgrow that delight. Some of us still foster that delight in the misguided notion of getting. We crave to get more things in the idea that it would add to our happiness. And we all know that doesn’t work in the long run.

But some of us grow into the love of giving. And that it the important part! We give gifts to our loves ones, sure, but we also try to give to those less fortunate. And it’s this generosity that helps the world become a better place.

In the spirit of giving this holiday season,  I released a holiday EP featuring 3 brand new songs! And it’s free! Season of Change is available for free download at my bandcamp page. But because I also believe in helping those less fortunate, I’ve also included the option that lets you pay for the songs if you’d like. All the proceeds I receive will go directly to feeding and clothing the homeless in my local area.

And speaking of change, I’m getting close to finishing my next album The Hour Before the Dawn, to be released in mid to late March. I’m really excited about how this one turned out. It’s a departure from the concept album Four Branches, and focuses more on Nature and how I see the world. It’s a really cool collection of songs, and I hope you all will enjoy it too!

Keep up with all my updates by liking my Facebook page.

Until next update, Peace!

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Gratitude-Giving Thanks

It’s the month of November, the month where, here in the US, things really start going from green to brown. The month that is home to Thanksgiving Day here. And quite ironically, it’s the month in which Black Friday exists too. But somehow we set aside that materialistic aspect for most of the month to focus on gratitude, on giving thanks.

There is so, so much to be thankful for and grateful for in life. More often than not, we take things for granted and overlook the small things. Someone may be grateful for their favorite football teams for winning a game or for their luxury car, but more rarer do we hear someone giving thanks for the water that is piped directly into their house, water clean enough to wash hands and bathe in, sure, but also to drink. That, in other parts of the world, is a miracle.

So I just wanted to sit down today, November the 10th, and write out what I am grateful for. I know a lot of people on social media sites share their gratitude day by day in the month of November, but I thought I’d bash it out in one, long blog post full of enough gratitude to make the Scrooges and the pessimists sick to their stomachs.

Let me start out with the wise words of the Buddha. I think he hits the nail on the head with this one when it comes to gratitude. He says, “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so let us all be thankful.”

So with that, let us begin.

First and foremost, I’m thankful for the people in my life. I am thankful for my wonderful, beautiful, energetic wife, Susan. She’s awesome.

I’m thankful for my family. My mother and father who taught me love and kindness and are always there for any one of my siblings if we need them. And my two fantastic older sisters (who tolerated me as a kid) and their awesome husbands. And last but definitely not least, my identical twin brother, Mark, (who lets me know what I look like without a beard and long hair without me having to cut it all off), who has been my best friend ever since birth. He’s probably the only one who truly understands my sense of humor (probably because both our sense of humors grew up side by side into something . . . well, identical.) And I’m thankful for his “new” family, his wife and his two wonderful daughters (one of which I have yet to meet in real life).

I’m thankful for my best friend and “brother-from-another-mother” Mike, whom I knew from elementary school but didn’t run into again until high school. I don’t know how he tolerates me and the eccentricities I sometimes display, but I’m grateful he does. He’s a fantastic friend.

I’m grateful for the people I work with, who I genuinely enjoy working with. They all make it much more bearable to be at work.

I’m thankful for the great international Druid family that is the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. Even though I’ve only seen some of them face to face once or twice in the last year (and lifetime), they really do feel like family. They let me realize that it’s okay to hug trees, and that it’s not that weird to talk to the birds in my backyard and just sit outside for the sake of sitting outside.

I am also grateful and thankful for the sangha I’m fortunate enough to be included in at the Kansas City Rime Buddhist Center. We may just get together once a Sunday and sit in a room quietly reciting mantras and supplications, but they’re like a happy, peaceful spiritual family.

Speaking of which, I’m also greatly appreciative and grateful for having the fortune of being introduced to the Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha. How fortunate to find such a practice that teaches mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom in a no-nonsense format. It may not immediately end ALL suffering, but it helps me (and the others in the sangha, surely) realize just how much suffering occurs in our lives, and helps ease the suffering of life for not only us, but those around us, too.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to live in the place and time in which I live. America may not be perfect, but like many other nations in the world, it offers a reasonable amount of security and freedom that allows us to peruse different recreational, spiritual, and other endeavors meaningful to each individual, and gives us the freedom to voice those endeavors without fear (in principle, at least).

I’m thankful for the great, beautiful display of Nature, the trees and clouds and flowers and all the colors and changes that come with the turning of the Wheel of the Year.

And as strange as it may seem, I am grateful for the technology we as a species have developed. Some of us may be a bit too glued to our smart phones, tablets, TVs, and computers, but it is that technology that lets us communicate with the whole entire world. It helps us open our eyes to other cultures, other paradigms of spirit and religion, helps us broaden our horizons (at the same time our horizons seem to grow smaller and smaller). The same technology that helped mankind step foot on another celestial body and look back on our fragile planet and realize “Wow, we’re small,” lets us make friends with people on the other side of the globe, lets us glimpse the wide, wide variety of life and love and thought within the human race. We can learn so much in the palm of our hands about the world around us, it’s a wonder that we’re still stuck in our own ideologies and blinded to the possibilities present within the culture of the human species.

I’m thankful for the education I’ve received, the ability to read and write greatly improved my own life, as far as I can tell. And not just the education I received in school, but the ability to educate myself and learn more through reading, and maybe to a lesser extent, writing. There’s a wealth of information in books, and now recently at our fingertips in the Internet on our smart phones. We can literally learn whatever we wanted to right here and now if we put in the effort.

I’m thankful for our very own planet, Mother Earth, and all she bestows unto us. The many fruits that sustain our bodily existence and the nourishment we receive from our harvests.

I’m also grateful for the Sun, the huge, terrifying ball of light that lends its energy to our Earth to help produce life. The energy of the sun, the light and warmth, help make the soil from which our food and life emerge, it fertilizes and revitalizes that which would otherwise be a desolate, lifeless rock.

I’m grateful for the food I’m able to get, the wide variety available to us all from all over the world, the delicious cuisines of other cultures and countries in which we get to partake.

I’m grateful for the clean water delivered to us through convenient, miraculous pipes, enabling a better life. And I’m grateful for the energy we’re able to use in order to improve our living conditions, though I wish it would be much more widely renewable…but there’s hope.

I’m grateful for having the job I have. It forces me to keep active and fit(ter than I would be otherwise), and that helps me maintain a life that isn’t in poverty. To have enough income to enjoy that which I enjoy in life, and enough to help others less fortunate than I am.

I am grateful for the tools, toys, and instruments I am fortunate enough to be able to afford that help support my hobbies and interests.

I’m thankful for the non-human people I have in my life, too. My wonderful, lovable dog Finnegan, and my three very distinct cats, Atticus the Catticus, Aster (lovingly referred to as Pudge Grumps), and Sedge, who is indifferent to everything unless it’s the heater vent in Winter. They all add a special spice to life.

I am tremendously thankful for my health and the life I’ve been given. It could have ended much sooner, or could have ended up in a much worse situation than it did.

I am grateful for being here right now in the present moment, even if my mind often is not. Life is precious and could end any moment, but right in this moment, I am alive, and that’s just really cool.

I could continue this for a long, long time, but I’m afraid it would start sounding strange and a bit hardpressed. I could say I’m thankful for watermelons, cakes and cookies, Indian food, the color blue, dishwashers, acrylic paint, public, state, and national parks, The Lord of the Rings,  ballpoint pens and modern toilets, but I think you get the point.

We, as a nation, gather around with family and friends to feast on a traditional American meal at Thanksgiving. Sometimes (I would hope most times) we really do give thanks to what we have, to what we have been given. And I’m grateful that we have that opportunity.

It does seem a bit backwards and maybe a bit unfortunate that commercialism has taken the world by storm. We’re battered with images and ideas that “you deserve (to buy, from us, at a low, low price) what you desire and crave. Treat yourself (for a limited time only) today!” We are convinced that if we want something–a new car, a bigger TV, more video games and an extra slice of pie–we have the right–no, the obligation–to feed our hunger. And maybe the most unfortunate aspect of this is our celebration of materialism called Black Friday. We see the ads and think “Wow, a TV for THAT low of a price?” (without even realizing that it’s probably only that low of a price because you get what you pay for). We’ve conditioned ourselves to anticipate the day after Thanksgiving (and even more insanely, the NIGHT of Thanksgiving) as a great, maddening day to save on some wicked deals on things you probably wouldn’t even buy on any other day of the year. (Sure, 75% off on a cool new toy might sound like a great deal, but what about the grand, unbeatable deal of saving 100% off if you realized you didn’t actually want it in the first place?)

It’s a hard habit to beat. We see those red sale signs and think, “I could have that without sacrificing TOO much money!” but you could be sacrificing something if you rush out the doors on Thanksgiving night to stand in lines in front of an electronic store. You could be sacrificing the peace of mind and gratitude you’ve just convinced yourself you had a few hours before, sitting at the dinner table in front of a roasted turkey. When you go out to cash in on those Black Friday deals, you are subconsciously telling yourself that there IS something in your life that isn’t quite perfect yet.

And the sad thing is, we’ve all grown to think that if you don’t buy something for someone for the holidays, you’re doing it wrong. You need to purchase something the other wants, and you better include the receipt in case they’re disappointed and unsatisfied. We’re all victims of this, and it’s not just our fault. But we can begin to change that never-ending craving for consumable goods at those “ridiculously low prices” if we just realize what we’re doing.

So this holiday season, this Thanksgiving, maybe take a moment to really think what you’re grateful for, and try to imagine what would happen if you didn’t get a new phone under your tree or that latest new toy that would just “complete your life if you had.” Reflect on the fact that there are some people out there this time of the year that would LOVE it if they received a new pair of shoes that didn’t have a hole in the toe, or would love it if they went just this one night without being hungry and cold.

And maybe realize if you just focused your efforts and energy telling you to “buy buy buy!” and instead turn it to a soup kitchen or a charity or homeless shelter . . . and think what if more and more people did that. No, maybe not everyone will, but one person can make a difference.

It’s like the parable of the child and the starfish. A wise man walked along a beach, and the tide had pulled in thousands upon thousands of starfish, stretching down the beach for miles. He comes across a child who picked up a starfish, looked at it, and tossed it back into the ocean.

The wise man asked what the child was doing, to which the child replied, “The starfish will dry up and die out here if I don’t throw them back into the ocean.” The wise man, baffled, said, “But you could never throw all these starfish back in. What difference would it make?”

As the child picked up another starfish, he looked at it, smiled, and tossed it into the ocean and said, “It made a difference to that one.”

I think a great thing about gratitude is that it helps you become aware of others’ misfortunes, and helps you realize avenues you might take that could benefit others if you tried.

That’s what the holidays are about, isn’t it? Compassion, love, generosity, and spreading the cheer to everyone–especially those who might need it.

So I wish everyone in the US a happy Thanksgiving, and everyone else a happy autumn. May your holiday season be filled with peace, gratitude, and love. And may we all suffer less.

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