Seeing the forest and the trees

Clay Rivers
Nov 2 · 3 min read

I love fall for a myriad of reasons. As a resident of a state with a subtropical climate (translation: long day, hot temperatures, humid air) most of the year, the cooler months are a welcome reprieve to scorching, hurricane-riddled summers.

Gratitude, the quality of being thankful, or an appreciation for people or things, is woven into our culture, even if on a seemingly superficial level at times. Think about it. The first phrases we teach kids before they’re old enough to understand the transactional nature of society are: “Please” — the magic word, the entreatment for a favor; and “Thank you” — the recognition of a gift, service, or compliment.

We all go through periods where it seems we just can’t seem to catch a break and hits just keep on coming. It’s safe to say, that vast numbers of us have felt that way for quite a while. Maybe you’re overworked or underemployed, sometimes relationships run afoul, there are financial concerns, health issues, self-esteem issues, loneliness, you name it. And there are the truly unfortunate people who blithely go through life without a clue that they’re obnoxious, despicable human beings. (It happens.) Through no fault of our own, any one of us can find ourselves in tenuous situations that leave us wondering, “What am I supposed to do with this?”

Focusing on a problem is a good plan of attack, but if all you’re looking at is the problem, that’s all you’ll see. That type of myopic focus can leave anyone feeling worse from wear. This is where gratitude comes in.

Gratitude : Problems :: Autumn : Florida Summers

What?! Gratitude is to problems as autumn is to Florida summers. It’s a reprieve, a break. When fall rolls into town like it did yesterday with its cooler temperatures, I find it a lot easier to appreciate the beauty that is Florida because I’m not stewing in my own sweat when I get into a hot car. In the coolness of November, I have a greater appreciation for my state’s perpetually green flora and signature fluffy clouds because I don’t feel as if I’m going to burst into flames at any given moment.

Yes, these are comically extreme examples, but you get the point. Choosing to enter a state of thankfulness provides the opportunity for us to step back from the ultra tight shot of that which is wrong and instead take stock of that which has been given to us, the people and things that enrich our lives, and gives us the strength to get up the next day and keep on keepin’ on and the day after that and the day after that.

It’s all about seeing the forest and the trees, because when you do, the world becomes a lot more manageable. Click here for information about how you can participate in Our Human Family’s season of gratitude.

Love one another.

Our Human Family

Clay Rivers

Written by

Author, art director, actor, and optimist. I write about equality, faith, and racism. Let’s chat over espresso. Books:

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