Thankgiving 2011

Nothing makes a person appreciate the little things like difficult times. Whether the difficulties are personal or more environmental, like losing heat and power during a storm, sometimes circumstances can makes us ponder what we really need in life. In my case, it is apparently hot water. Ill-prepared for the recent storm that sucker punched the northeastern US this past weekend, my biggest lament was not having filled insulated containers with precious hot water.

Oh sure, I missed the lights, the heat (I'm truly a hot house flower - our house only got down to 53F) and my beloved Internet, but I could have better dealt with these inconveniences if I had a cup of tea! We were lucky our power was only out for about 33 hours. As I write this, many folks are still in the dark, and so I am grateful for our utility company's speedy recovery. Also I am grateful for the hot cup of sencha sitting next to me, electricity used to make it, clean water, tea bushes, tea companies, tea farmers, tea clients who keep the industry afloat and indoor heating. I jest only a little - and of course can keep going in my appreciation chain.

Even our pumpkins were chilly!
Even our pumpkins were chilly!

My point is this: These mere inconveniences pale in comparison to those of others. During this season of giving and thankfulness, fully appreciating all we have is a wonderful thing. Every day that the earth does not shake beneath us, metaphorically as well as literally, is a gift.

Appreciation leads to compassion, and so when a difficult customer, crabby clerk, or grumpy shopper crosses your path, don't get angry. Be thankful you are not in their shoes. They may not have electricity, heat or the ability to make a soul-settling cup of tea. Pay it forward with kindness, compassion and most of all patience this holiday season. As business people, this is good customer service advice, as humans it's good karma.