How can we possibly feel blessed by what we have if we do not think of those

less fortunate?

I just came back from an early morning walk, and I feel totally exhilarated by the smell of fresh air, the crystal blue sky and the warmth of the sun. It sounds like the beginning of a romance novel, except Fabio was not walking beside me, whispering in my ear.
  
I get very introspective when I walk. It's not all good. Sometimes I spend part of the time going over things that annoy me and the individuals who cause me angst. But this particular morning my mind was giving me a break from worry and I was totally immersed in the feeling of freedom.
  
As I walked, I began thinking how fortunate I was to be sauntering down the street of my own free will with all my parts working. I read a lot of news, and I am often appalled at how much suffering there is in the world.

Most of us are very fortunate. We live day to day, able to go from place to place without the fear of a suicide bomber turning our lives into a hell beyond belief. We don't have to worry that groups of insane revolutionaries are going to rape our women, mutilate them and then keep them as slaves. Our children go to school, come home and feel safe in their beds, not in dread fear that they may be abducted and made part of an army of thugs. These and other atrocities go on every day along with starvation and homes left behind for refugee camps with millions of inhabitants.
  
I know this isn't very upbeat. But how can we possibly feel blessed by what we have if we do not think of those less fortunate? There is a study on gratitude that shows that when we realize how much we have in comparison to others, it provokes us into being more empathic and giving.
  
It goes back to a saying my mother always reminded me of when I didn't think I had what everybody else had. "I cried that I had no shoes till I saw the man with no feet."
  
I really find that the level of complaining about anything and everything has reached major proportions, that is it's global whining. I recently heard a group of individuals whining about how difficult it was to get the new iPhone, which, by the way, costs about $500. I know it's fun to have new gadgets, but how about some balance? All the stuff in the world does not equate to knowing you can walk out your door free to go wherever you choose and talk to whomever you want. All the brightly colored cell phones will not come to your aid like your family and friends if you need help. I also doubt that you will be checking your e-mail at the end of your life.
  
I truly believe the best thing we can do to get through this life is to periodically review all that we feel is good and right with it. It will help us stay happier and healthier and perhaps drive us to think more about the universal we and less about the ego-driven me.

The Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Mass.

Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth 02360, send e-mail to getalife@lorettalaroche.com, visit the Web site at www.stressed.com or call 800-99-TADAH (82324).