I have always loved the idea of setting aside one day a year when we count our many blessings and contemplate all the wonderful ways in which abundance has shown up in our lives. But, I have to confess that through the years there have been some Thanksgivings when it was a mental struggle to think of something for which to be thankful. There were times when the prosperity wasn’t flowing too freely in the realm of material possessions or finances. There were some long dry spells when it came to creative ideas, opportunities or expression. And, oh yes, in the area of love and relationships, there have been a few times when I wondered, “Where’s the love, the kindness, the friendship?”

If you’ve ever felt that way, let me share with you what I’ve discovered to be the single, most important step to prosperous living.

First, let me tell you how prosperity doesn’t work. In whatever form you want it to show up — whether it’s money and possessions, creative expression and fulfillment, love and relationships, or health and vitality. It doesn’t happen by just thinking about it. Yes, I know, there are a lot of people touting Prosperity Thinking. Most often it’s basically a two-step technique: #1. Think Prosperity. #2. See prosperity. That’s simple enough — and helpful. It’s good to think “rich” thoughts instead of “poor” thoughts, “healthy” thoughts instead of “sick” thoughts, “attractive” thoughts instead of “ugly” thoughts. Thinking thoughts of lack or limitation in any area brings you down, that’s for sure. But engaging only the thinking process strains your brain and keeps you focused on the Land of Either Or. That’s the place where everything hinges on whether you have it or you don’t.

Prosperous living, I mean, a holistic, across-the-board, needs-met-in-every-area-of-life kind of prosperity, begins by disengaging the thinking process. So, actually, before thinking and seeing prosperity, the first step to having an abundant life is the feeling step.

I know that taking your attention off the mind and placing it on the heart might be difficult for those of us with lives that are filled with trying to figure things out, considering our options, our to-do lists, plotting and planning, how-to maneuver and when-to make our move. That’s all good. But here’s a gentler, more fulfilling way to prosperity: feel it.

The word <em>prosperity</em> comes from the Latin “prospero,” which means “according to hope” or “according to your highest aspiration.” Some etymologists suggest that the word <em>hope</em> is connected with the word <em>hop</em>, as if to mean, “leaping in expectation.” The word <em>aspiration</em> is the noun of <em>aspire</em>, which literally means, “to breathe into.”

Prosperity begins with leaping in expectation. You know that feeling. Like when your sweetheart unexpectedly leans in to give you a kiss and your heart begins to sing. Or when you’re about to dive into your favorite decadent dessert and your whole body buzzes in anticipation.

Prosperity begins with breathing into the feeling of abundance, the feeling of love and support, the feeling of having all needs met and all desires fulfilled.

How about taking a few moments right now to experience this first step to abundant living? You might want to get comfortable and take a few deep breaths. Then, let your mind relax. In order to do this, a method I like to use is to imagine warm, healing oil being poured on the top of your head. Feel it gently flowing down over your forehead, relaxing the temple area, your eyes, your jaw, and on down your neck and shoulders. When it gets to your heart area, allow it to pool there, warming your heart.

Prosperity is about freedom. With your attention on your heart, allow yourself to feel free — free from any limitation or entanglement. Feel free in your body, mind, heart and soul. Breathe that in.

Prosperity is about expansion — Allow yourself to <em>leap in expectation</em> of limitless experience and boundless opportunities.

Prosperity is about creative expression — Allow yourself <em>to breathe into</em> the most perfect, the most beautiful creative self-expression and fulfillment.

Prosperity is about abundance — We live in an abundant universe. Allow yourself to feel the richness of life. Ah.

So, if you want more prosperity in your life, don’t just think about it. Be it. The first step of any journey is the most important. Be the embodiment of whatever form you want prosperity to show up in your life. Really assimilate the feeling step before moving on to the thinking step. Then you’ll easily glide into the seeing step. That’s when you’ll look up and begin to see the abundance of life all around you.

May you feel bounteous joy, love and peace this Thanksgiving and always.