[Advice] How to Have Gratitude

Remember how easy it was to say “thank you” when you were a child and you had nothing to lose?

Yeah…neither do we…

And the thing is, as we become fully autonomous adults, with our own minds, motivations, and needs, it becomes less easy than it ever was in childhood.

We can talk all we want about the history of the Pilgrims, the fractious nature of their relationship with Native Tribes, or even if they should’ve left Europe in the first place, but underlying all of the dogmatic anger and resentment against the Pilgrims in our contemporary culture (and in some cases, against this day), is one simple fact:

It’s really, really hard to humble ourselves to say the words “thank you.”

It’s also really, really hard as adults to be thankful when we believe inherently that our own power gets us what we have, rather than working collaboratively in a community with others, creating “good enough” governments, and resolving arguments without resorting to violence.

It’s really, really hard to have a heart of gratefulness when we feel that our ideas, our emotions, and even our identities have been changed, stolen, appropriated, or even wiped out all together.

It’s really, really hard to say “thank you” when we feel that the system and structure is the one to whom we are giving thanks (it’s not) rather than the Immovable Force behind the system and structure (which we may—or may not—believe in).

It’s really, really hard to understand that saying “thank you” is not about how we feel today, tomorrow, or even how we felt in the past. Instead, having a heart of gratitude is about doing what’s right no matter what our ephemeral and fleeting feelings may be.

All of this is hard. And it should come as no surprise that it’s always been hard.

Both at the beginning of celebrating this thing called Thanksgiving Day, and all the way through today, two hundred and twenty-seven years later.

But if we get through this day, then the long spiral of renewal toward next year becomes one that happens without the baggage of resentment, conflict, and strife.

HIT Piece 11.22.2016

The power of stories is undeniable, particularly around the Thanksgiving holiday.

Stories about the Pilgrims.

Stories about the country today.

Stories about the country yesterday.

Stories about the neighborhood.

Stories about the family.

Thanksgiving is a curious holiday, because at its root, it is about thanking God (who the Pilgrims believed in, by the way) and about sharing the overflow (which the Pilgrims did with each other and the Native tribes that surrounded them).

Gratitude and sharing are at the core of the stories we tell each other on Thanksgiving.

But it is hard to be full of gratitude (or even to share for that matter) when there is conflict, strife, oppression (psychological or otherwise) or when there are outside signals that create meaningless internal noise.

The distractions from getting to the root of your story, are a story in and of themselves. But those distractions, many of which are focused on conflict, strife, and oppression, are not the core story of the holiday.

Thankfulness is a story.

Gratitude is an attitude. And a story.

Sharing is a story.

The power of the stories we tell—and the power of the stories we don’t tell—lies at the core of giving thanks, being grateful, and sharing with others.

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode #7 – Darren MacDonald

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode # 7 – Darren MacDonald, Investor, Film/Movie Buff, World Traveler, Local Raconteur


Movies are the stories of our lives.

Our guest today on the show, Darren MacDonald, is a local venture capital investor, film buff, and world traveler.  This is the follow-up to episode #6 featuring Darren’s unique, humorous and engaging point of view.

In this episode, Darren talks about the power of film to cut through to the heart of stories. We cover all the films that came out last year, and have a spirited discussion about who killed Han Solo.

Considering that for a moment, here’s an existential question:

If your child had gone over to the side of evil would you be able to stop them, or would the love that you feel for them—the parental bond you have—cause you to give your life for them?

Yeah. Like I said, film has the power to cut through the muck and ask—and answer—the questions that matter.

Connect with Darren through all the ways you can below:

Check out our first interview with Darren here: http://www.hsconsultingandtraining.com/blog/earbud_u/earbud_u-episode-1-darren-macdonald/

Follow Darren on Twitter: https://twitter.com/upwordz

Connect with Darren on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/darrenmacdonald/

Connect with the Southern Tier Capital Fund: http://stcfny.com/

Connect with the Southern Tier Capital Fund on Twitter: https://twitter.com/stcapitalfund

[Advice] Absorption

This Thanksgiving, let us be grateful for the moments of silence, inside and around the moments of noise.

The most important voices, and the most attention, go to family on this day. And while there may be things left unsaid, conflicts left unaddressed and fights left unkindled, today is the day of absorbing less of the noise that doesn’t matter and more absorbing of the silence that does matter.

Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

HIT Piece 11.24.2015

Having an “attitude of gratitude” is what Thanksgiving is all about.

But, it’s hard to demonstrate (and act on) gratitude in the hardest mission field in the world, when the average person is wealthier, healthier, and wiser than just three short generations ago.

Gratitude comes from knowing from whom everything comes, and knowing to whom to say “thank you” to. But too often, two things prevent people from saying “thank you” to each other:




Expectations I’ve addressed in this space before, but around Thanksgiving, they are particularly pernicious in the context of the “more” revolution. This has occurred subtly over the last few years in America and consists of a combination of commercialism, comfort, and cheap money. With these three elements in place, the average person wants more than they have, and struggles to find the meaning in having less than they think that they should have.

Humility is the cure for all of this, and having an “attitude of gratitude” is the way that Thanksgiving should be celebrated, as much for what you have been gifted with having—and for what has been kept away.

I’ll be thankful for both, even as I realize that the cranberry sauce has stuffing in it.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Opinion] The Cranberry Sauce Has Stuffing In It

On Thanksgiving Day in America, it’s tempting to look at the whole thing as merely a set-up for the coming commercialization and endless marketing of Christmas.

However, the first Pilgrims didn’t look at it that way and neither did the Native Peoples who helped them celebrate the day.

Individually, Thanksgiving is wrapped up in visiting family, traveling to the table and avoiding conversations about things that matter, in favor of things that don’t.

You know…to keep the peace.

Papering over conflict in life didn’t work for the Pilgrims (they transitioned from a commune based system of economics and social ordering to a market based system after a hard winter of near starvation where no one worked) and it won’t work for you in 2014.

Acknowledging differences with respect, maintaining traditions and honoring symbols are at the core of the Thanksgiving tradition.

Let us also remember, that the triumvirate of holidays—Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years’—are positioned on the calendar to remind us that thankfulness, redemption and new beginnings are due to everybody, not just those who are part of our immediate tribe.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Advice] The Most Perfect Gift

What is the most perfect gift that you can give?

During the holiday season, particularly around Christmas, the societal stress level in the West, increases as people pursue purchasing the “perfect gift.” The inherent, human tendency to have “stuff,” pushed by marketers, advertisers and other consumers, is hyped through Black Friday sales and “deep discounts.”

Also, fear is pushed that a holiday celebration will be “ruined” without the attainment and giving of that “perfect gift” to that person in your life.

If we stop however, and remember that the point of Thanksgiving is to be reflective, and that the point of Christmas is to focus on redemption, then the hard part is not slogging through the mall, stressing over an online purchase or crowding into a retail space at the “last minute.”

The real hard work between Thanksgiving and the New Year is focusing on the active act of engaging in reconciliation and forgiveness with those whom we have harmed, and who have harmed us during the past year.

Financial outlay then falls to the bottom of the list and the true cost—in time, energy, emotional effort and spiritual development—stands revealed.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

Towards A More Thankful Union

We here at the HSCT Communication Blog are all thankful this day for many things:
The country where we live,
The family that we have,
The connections we are about to make,
The business that we are growing,
The tools that we have to explore the world,
The intellect and science behind them,
The religiousity that allowed people to develop ideas,
The advancements in the world that feed more people well,
The times that are a changin’,
The peace we have an opportunity to build,
The relationships we have had a chance to build,
The connections that we have made,
The critics, naysayers and disbelievers that we have,
The “no’s,”
The “yes’s,”
The “maybe laters,”
The incredulity,
The pain
…and the promise…

-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com