Pillar I – Know That You Are Blessed

Gifts of the Heart ‘s Seven Pillars of Life: Pillar I – Know That You Are Blessed

During this holiday season, it is important for us all to realize how blessed we are. Many of us will purchase gifts for friends, family and co-workers. Holiday parties are in swing all around the nation and the New Year will have come and gone before we know it. A disposition of constant gratitude is vital to honoring the blessings we have all been given in this country. The New York Times unveiled an in-depth feature story that touched my heart deeply. The story profiles the lives of a homeless family in New York City. Centered on Dasani, the oldest of 9 siblings who lives in a 520 square-foot room, the details of this family’s daily life are heart wrenching. Below is an excerpt from the first page of the article and take the time to read the full story at:

“She wakes to the sound of breathing. The smaller children lie tangled beside her, their chests rising and falling under winter coats and wool blankets. A few feet away, their mother and father sleep near the mop bucket they use as a toilet. Two other children share a mattress by the rotting wall where the mice live, opposite the baby, whose crib is warmed by a hair dryer perched on a milk crate.  Slipping out from her covers, the oldest girl sits at the window. On mornings like this, she can see all the way across Brooklyn to the Empire State Building, the first New York skyscraper to reach 100 floors. Her gaze always stops at that iconic temple of stone, its tip pointed celestially, its facade lit with promise. “It makes me feel like there’s something going on out there,” says the 11-year-old girl, never one for patience. This child of New York is always running before she walks. She likes being first — the first to be born, the first to go to school, the first to make the honor roll.”

For millions of Americans this type of living is unfathomable, but for hundreds of thousands, it is reality. It is very easy to get caught up buying gifts, spending time with loved ones and enjoying the holiday and miss out on the opportunity to take inventory of what most take for granted. Since embarking on the “A Million Hearts of Service Campaign” last week, I have made a personal re-commitment to live by the Seven Pillars of Life outlined in Gifts of the Heart. The first pillar and the coming profile is simple- Know That You Are Blessed. Knowing that you are blessed means acknowledging every blessing, no matter how small, and living in full appreciation of each blessing every second of every day.


STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES- We now live an extremely accelerated life. Constantly on the go; working hard; running errands; setting goals and working tirelessly to accomplish them. If we are not careful, we will miss out on the finest parts of life. Look into your child’s eyes and marvel at what love can create, stand in the center of a sidewalk and watch others go about their days without worrying about where they will rest their heads.

REALIZE OTHERS ARE NOT AS FORTUNATE- Tell yourself each day that no matter how difficult your day may have been, someone else has had an even more difficult day. While this does not negate the stress hard days can bring on each of us, it does underscore that most of our problems are not the end of the world.

NEVER SACRIFICE THE GIFT AND TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED- Appreciate the fact that at any moment, it could all be taken away. Life is fleeting and nothing is guaranteed forever. Knowing you’re blessed and appreciating each blessing in your life is the first step to living passionately from the heart.


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