The Latitude of Gratitude

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
~ Melanie Beattie

We have headed into “season” – the time of year in the Keys that prompted the creation of a bumper sticker asking “If there is a season, can we shoot them?” …

Tongue in cheek of course, but in this tourism economy, it’s when local Island Janes and other small business owners gear up for coming months of increasing “busy,” after the steamy respite of a very slow month of September. It’s time to court the many visitors to the Keys who change over on a weekly basis, as well as our part-time snowbird friends and neighbors who begin to return.

But before all heck breaks loose, we get to savor my favorite of all holidays this month: Thanksgiving.

What could be better than a holiday devoted to giving thanks for all our blessings, surrounded by friends and family and a great shared meal … with amazing leftovers that last through a long weekend of festivities?

While it is my favorite holiday, it serves as a reminder, I live at the latitude of gratitude – a sort of year-round festival of thanks, fueled by a lot of giving back for all the blessings we have to experience in this 120-mile long community. It’s just one of the ways I view the fortunate confluence of events that keep me living in the Keys.

A big part of that good fortune is available to anyone just for stepping out and getting involved in something both enjoyable and fulfilling …

Keys people get involved with numerous causes they love, to benefit our local community. They will even pull together for loved ones with donation accounts set up at local banks when neighbors are in trouble and need help.

That kind of generosity is also alive and well in the form of volunteerism throughout the Keys – with people contributing their time, money and efforts and receiving back so much more in areas of interest that include animal welfare, arts and culture, clubs and services, education, environment, faith based, foundations, health and human services and recreation.

The Community Foundation of the Florida Keys (CFFK) lists over 300 nonprofit organizations that gratefully include volunteer programs and activities. To find your own enjoyable forms of involvement, see their searchable directory here:  http://www.cffk.org/npo_search.cfm?menuid=24

Ready to celebrate the joy of Thanksgiving every month of the year?  Check out all the ways you can get involved in this beautiful community we call the Florida Keys, and create your own latitude of gratitude experience!

Dolly Garlo is a Florida Keys woman with a passion for the environment and a mission to make the world a better place. Trusted advisor to conscious entrepreneurs and professionals in business, her focus is on improving productivity and profitability through strategic marketing for greater visibility, mastering wealth and managing financial independence, career transition and exit-planning, lifestyle and personal legacy design to make meaningful contributions to the people, places and things you care most about. Founder and President of Thrive!!