Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
 
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit

Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
While Dr. Friedman is no longer with us, there are still many helpful resources on his site. Articles and resource links have been relocated to the top. His family hopes you might find them helpful. But since this site is no longer being updated, some links may no longer work.

 


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Articles by Dr. Friedman (except where noted otherwise)

Categorized by Process | Topic

From His Book | Meditations For Life | The Flow of Money, Business and Innovation | Transpersonal/Mind-Body | Approaches, Worldview and Will-isms

Skills For Life: The Core Playing Field | Free the Ego, and You Are Free | Feeling, Thought, Communication & Action

Strategies/Distinctions For Life: The Core Playing Field | Free the Ego, and You Are Free

Awakening Stories/Metaphors For Life: The Core Playing Field | Free the Ego, and You Are Free | The Way It Is

Holiday Family Gatherings | Cartoons, Jokes and Humor | Poems and Quotes | Song Lyrics, Wit and Wisdom

Holiday Family Gatherings

Thanksgiving—Let Holiday Ignite Awareness of Needs, Commitment to Help

© 2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[Originally in The Sun, San Bernardino, CA, Sunday November 18, 1991, page D1, D4]
 

Thanksgiving Day could provide us with 365 days of rewards if only we would understand and embrace its true meaning. Historically, the holiday is uniquely American. It is virtually unheard of elsewhere in the world. Except for Canada, it has caught on nowhere else.

The first Thanksgiving came about in 1621 when William Bradford, governor of Plymouth Colony, invited nearby Indians for feasting and recreation. The resulting three-day festival showed shared gratitude for a rich harvest and other bountiful blessings.

From its origins, Thanksgiving served several life-supportive purposes:

  • It shattered superiority and exclusivity by including other cultures, races and traditions in the prima act of breaking bread and congenial socializing.
     
  • It reignited awareness of what we commonly take for granted-everything from our health and pleasures, to our family and friends, to the dearest gift of all, life itself, and the opportunity to grow, learn and contribute.
     
  • It powerfully reminded us of the healing value of acceptance with thanks for all of our gifts and blessings.

It wasn't until 1863, in the middle of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln formally proclaimed Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday. Although we've been celebrating it for so many years, what can we still learn from this beloved holiday?

First, it tells us that Americans don't want to mix gratitude with economics. We'd sooner give a strapped friend a turkey or an invitation to a holiday meal than an impersonal, monetary handout. Year after year, Thanksgiving rebuffs all commercialization. This is good news, indeed.

Second, the presence of real gratitude poignantly contrasts with the widespread meagerness of such appreciation at other times. This singular day attunes us to the enormity of unmet needs to be seen, acknowledged and appreciated.

Third, tremendous power is unleashed the moment thanks is offered. Such courtesy and support increases compliance, boosts morale and enhances productivity. Consider the individuals who've made significant contributions to our culture and their obvious gratitude. Names like Thomas Jefferson, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Martin Luther King immediately come to mind.

Fourth, it's interesting that thanks and gratitude are least present during times of adversity. This is understandable but, ironically, these are the times when appreciation is most necessary.

To accept, and even to bless, a displeasing circumstance opens the door for change. Giving thanks helps us marshal our energies to focus on solutions. Every adversity contains within it the seeds for its resolution and our renewal. Daily, media human interest stories chronicle how thanks giving appears to bring forth unanticipated help.

When all is said and done, Thanksgiving Day compels each of us to find what return or offering we can make, some freely-given demonstration of our human connection, brotherhood and fellowship. We're all enriched, as is our culture, through such returns.

Giving thanks daily, even hourly, in good times and difficult, rewards the giver. Let's join our wills and more completely accept, acknowledge and appreciate everyone and everything in our lives. Now, that is a vision worth aiming for and realizing!


George Demont Otis         Desert and Sage Brush

Friedman, of Redlands, is a writer and licensed psychologist practicing in Loma Linda. He is also associated with CPC Rancho Lindo Hospital in Fontana.

© 2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

 

 


Home | Dedication/Orientation | Articles by Dr. Friedman | Video and Audio Clips | Annotated Resource Links | Psychology Professionals

Dr. Will’s Perspective on Practicing Psychology: Dr. Friedman's Practice | Dr. Friedman's Approach | Therapeutic Purposes | Credentials | Experience | Brochures | Interview | Events and Workshops | Website Disclaimer | Contact