Giving Thanks Deliberately

By Corinne H. Smith

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ~ “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For,” WALDEN

At the conclusion of our house tours, we encourage our visitors to consider how some of Thoreau’s philosophies apply to their lives. How have they chosen to live deliberately? How have they turned thought into action? If they wish, our guests can write their declarations on cards and tack them up on our bulletin board. Here are some of our favorite answers, gathered since we opened the Thoreau Farm Birthplace to the public in 2010.

~ By being thankful each morning when I wake up. I’m alive, well, and have all that I need.

~ I recycled an old, found sweater with new buttons, and I’m wearing it.

~ I make music with non-musicians from everyday objects.

~ I stop and look my children in their eyes when they talk to me — give them my whole attention.

~ I usually don’t do anything, which isn’t fun.

~ I changed professions from dentistry to human services with a large decrease in monetary remuneration. I devote much non-working time for working to change society: to a society based on production for human need, not profits, and to an end to social injustice.

~ I’m writing a script based on the life and teachings of Thoreau. I hope my work will inspire others to live their best lives, the way HDT did.

~ By conserving my usage of electricity, reducing waste, and reusing anything I can. Walking!

~ I try not to judge, but to understand. It’s hard work.

~ I give the cat a pat on the head.

~ By treasuring each moment of my day, of my life – even the most horrible ones! And by sharing this sense of “gift-moment” around me!

~ I am educating myself about where the food we eat comes from, and making choices about what I eat based on what I learn!

~ Ignore regulations. Respect the heart of Civil Disobedience, of love for the earth.

~ I gather local wild berries and other edible wild plants and mushrooms, and prepare and share them with family, friends, and other folks interested in connecting to nature via their taste buds.

~ We recycle. We grow some vegetables. We plant flowers. We recycle.

~ I try to live in the moment. Follow your bliss!

~ I enjoy being in a private place in nature. I think about the wonderful mixture of gases that I inhale and the biochemical processes of photosynthesis that produce our oxygen, food and water. As I exhale, I thank the plants by giving them the carbon dioxide that they need to live and to continue to extend life on our unique and beautiful planet.

~ I try to be a good caretaker of the little bits of history and life that are around me.

~ We haven’t had a TV for 35 years, haven’t eaten animal flesh for 35 years, and have been practicing vegan living of the interconnectedness of all life for 32 years and haven’t been to doctors in 35 years. Life is a celebration of loving kindness. We are all related!

~ By being thankful each morning when I wake up. I’m alive, well, and have all that I need.

We feel inspired by these examples provided by our new friends. What about YOU, blog readers? How have YOU chosen to live deliberately? Our online bulletin board awaits your input below.

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