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“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It had been a busy day.

I was in Coldwater, MI and had already spoken with two grade schools, a high school and a local college. It was now evening as I walked into a noisy, packed banquet center. Laughter, talking and greetings blended as one, thick white noise. Above it all, though, rang out a booming voice.

A musician was on the stage, playing the piano, and singing as if he was in the shower! He was clearly having a blast and as he belted out the song with such joy and passion, I remember thinking that he may never make it on The Voice, but there is no doubt that this man is on fire with life.

As I walked to the front of the room, he began a new song. He shared with those listening that it was song he wrote about gratitude.

Moving closer, I saw that he wore thick, darkened glasses. It turns out Gregory Brayton was unable to see. I watched, amazed, as the man rocked out on the piano and lifted his voice high above the noise. The refrain of the song echoed through the room, “I’ve got gratitude.”

It was highly inspiring.

As I sat back, shut my eyes, and listened to the man, a new friend named Denise sat next to me and asked if I liked the warm up music. I told her it sounded more like the main event. She then told me a bit about Greg. Not only was he blind, but he’d been through innumerable other challenges with his health, kids, and family.

Denise then shared, that the cancer he’d been fighting for years had just returned with vengeance.Stage four. Nothing they could do now.

As she finished, I opened my eyes, looked toward the stage, and observed as Gregory belted out the final line of the song: “I’ve got gratitude.”

My friends, we lost Greg a couple years ago, but his voice, his spirit, and that beautiful attitude continue on.

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. There are so many reasons for concern. ISIS, global tension, political grandstanding. The economy is soft, markets are down, expenses are up. Many of us struggle in our own physical health, our mental health or in relationships.

But on Thursday, we have a simple and powerful opportunity to pause and be thankful. [Tweet this.]

We’re invited to focus less on concerns, or what is broken, or what we wish was different, and instead focus on the good, on what we have, and on those things, those people, those gifts for which we are most grateful.

Yes, there are reasons for anxiety. But this week, I invite you to shut your eyes, count your blessings, lift your voice, and cry out like you’re singing in the shower: “I’ve got gratitude!”

This is your day. Live Inspired.  

1 reply on “Instead, Focus on the Good”

One of the things I’m grateful for is you, John – and the stories you share. I send you wishes for a joyful holiday spent with family and friends – just “wasting time” together…

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.