In Episode 95 of the Wandering But Not Lost Podcast, co-hosts Matt Emerson and Jan O’Brien chat about how gratitude can transform your life and the lives of those around you.  It is probably the easiest thing you can incorporate into your daily routine and it will, by far, have the greatest impact.  In today’s Zen we discuss our Thanksgiving traditions and give you a ton of fun facts that you can take to your Thanksgiving feast this year to wow your crew with your knowledge or steer the conversation away from troubled waters!   Let’s get to it…



WBNL 52: The Power of Gratitude





“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”    – Melody Beattie

Practicing gratitude daily creates awareness and appreciation for what we do have that is positive and life affirming.  It gives us perspective. Gratitude fosters a sense of overall well-being and contentment when we incorporate it into our daily awareness.

And let’s face it, in this day and age of 24/7 access to everything from constant use of our smart phones and social media to cable tv channels and streaming services, we are bombarded with information. Unfortunately, much of this information-overload is negative, chaotic and disturbing news, images, and drama. This constant bombardment of information, updates and notifications can negatively impact our health, stress levels, and overall attitude.

What we focus on we attract into our lives. So what are you focusing on right now? Is it positive or negative? Does it lift you up or break you down? Below are two simple strategies to cultivate more gratitude in your life and the lives of others.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is an excellent and easy way to cultivate more gratitude and happiness in your life.  I highly recommend this podcast:  The Upside with Callie and Jeff  Check out their Gratitude Journal on sale now for $24

Here are some ideas to get you journaling:
  • Select a journal or notebook that attracts or inspires you.  Visit a bookstore and see what jumps out for you. Discover if you prefer ruled or un-ruled, blank or lined pages.
  • Get a favorite pen or writing instrument.  Don’t underestimate the value of a great pen!
  • At the end or beginning (or both) of the day simply answer this question in your gratitude journal –

Today I am grateful for…

  • What happened today that made you smile?
  • Who are you thankful for today?
  • Notice and record memorable moments
  • Notice and write down synchronicities
  • Celebrate the small things

Go Digital! Keep a digital journal or diary … there are plenty of APPs for that!  Just search journal or diary in the APP store.  Here are two I recommend checking out:

Pay it Forward – Share the Gratitude

Send more thank you notes!

Here are the top reasons why you should include writing personal notes as a daily success strategy for your business:

  1. Personal Notes are always opened and read.
  2. They leave a lasting impact.
  3. Personal, written thank you notes will make someone’s day!
  4. They help you build and deepen the quality of your connections and relationships.

Our recommendations on how to implement this powerful practice and get the best results:

  • Write the note in the moment – immediately after the interaction or when you have the feeling of gratitude.
  • Keep it simple and to the point. Simply let someone know why you appreciate him or her in your life.
  • Use a blank card so you can hand write a personal message.
  • Always have a supply of blank note cards, envelopes and stamps on hand.
  • Hand-address the envelope with both the destination address and return address.
More Gratitude Practice Resources:

In her best selling book “Simple Abundance – A Day Book of Comfort and Joy “, Sarah Ban Breathnach  takes the reader on a daily inspirational and transformational  journey toward self-discovery and awareness weaving these 6 major themes of gratitude, simplicity, order, harmony, beauty and joy.

Go Gratitude – Take the 42-day gratitude experiment.  Watch the video and then sign-up to receive “42 daily doses of high-frequency images, artwork, inspirational messages and resources.”

Check out these articles on Gratitude:




Wandering Zen – Thanksgiving Fun Facts


Thanksgiving is upon us once again so we thought we prep you with some fun facts that you can take to your holiday gathering this year.  Omitted from the list, because it felt more like a Halloween fact than one for Thanksgiving, is that out of the 8,000 people that participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – 1,000 of them are clowns!  YIKES.  Here are some facts that aren’t as scary…



  1. It was Abraham Lincoln who, back in 1863, proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday.  It was partly to celebrate victories in the then-raging Civil War and partly to spotlight our advantages and privileges of living in a democracy.  Decades later, Roosevelt and Congress acted to establish Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November, in part to lengthen the Christmas shopping season
  2. There are 4 towns in the US that are named Turkey, Turkey Creek AZ, Turkey, TX, Turkey Creek LA and Turkey NC
  3. 3000-4,500 calories are consumed on average on Thanksgiving – that totals a whopping 8.1 billion calories across the nation!
  4. 9% of Americans eat their Thanksgiving meal in a restaurant
  5. Thankful Americans differ on their favorite part of the meal however –  39% say it’s the turkey, 23% say stuffing, 12% the pumpkin pie, 9% go for the mashed potatoes, 6% sweet potatoes and 3% love the cranberry sauce
  6. 46 million turkeys aren’t as thankful each year.  This year, we’ll spend $552 million dollars on turkeys
  7. 635 of us drink wine with our meal, while 19% prefer beer and 10% throw back other spirits
  8. The weekend kicks off the holiday shopping period and, on average, we each spend over $313 during this 5-day period
  9. Over 165 million people typically hit the stores.  57% are buying clothing or accessories and 34% are buying toys
  10. Last year we spent $3.7 billion online – that was an increase of 28% over 2017.  No doubt that trend will continue to shoot upward this year
  11. Football became a staple of the holiday back in 1876 when Yale and Princeton took to the field
  12. It was in 1920 when the NFL started to air games each Thanksgiving.  The Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions are the only team to have played every year since 1966
  13. In 1924 the Macy’s Parade debuted.  This 2.65 miles long trek down the center of manhattan attracts 3.5 million spectators and over 50 million who join in on TV and other devices
  14. This year, over 54.3 million of us will travel this Thanksgiving.  89.4% will wander on land, while 7.8% will take to the skies
  15. Not surprisingly, 88% of people say that they are the most thankful, 77% says it’s their health, 72% say it’s personal freedom, and only 32% say that wealth is their top choice.

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