Thanksgiving is coming up here in the USA – a time where we reflect on what we appreciate about life.

When most people think of miracles, they think of a binary choice. It’s either ordinary, practical or it’s a miracle, akin to magic. What they don’t realize is that there is a continuum with many gradients and the average person can get much closer to miracle making than they know.

Take for example any chosen craft. My musician friends have chosen to spend thousands of hours on their respective instruments and when I sit and listen to the amazing sounds they make, it’s as close to a miracle as I can get. But, for them, it’s a product of years of focus and artistic intent. The same is true of any profession. Nurses delve deep into care, learning how to help patients recover using everything from super technical devices to physical touch, from conversation to medication. They are masters at the miraculous arts of healing.

But, beyond that, we now know a good deal of what it takes to change the national consciousness thanks to research by Chris Economos. In 2001 she and other researchers published, “What Lessons have been Learned from Other Attempts to Guide Social Change?” They studied four areas where the national trend shifted 180 degrees: the use of tobacco, seat belts, support for breastfeeding and recycling.

If you had visited this country in the 1970s and predicted that one day we would be largely tobacco free as a national culture, it would have seemed impossible.  And with seatbelts, how did we go from a nation where cars did not even come with the straps to one in which every parent waits to hear the clicks before even pulling out of the driveway?  According to the research there were 10 factors that made these national movements the successes they were:

1. Framed as a crisis 6. Advocacy
2. Science-based research 7. Government involvement
3. An economic case 8. Mass communications
4. Champions 9. Environment and Policy change
5. Coalition building 10, A game plan

(You can watch a short video where I discuss Economos’s work at

My point is that in this day and age miracles, like other pursuits, are closer at hand once you dedicate your life to achieving them, whether it’s playing the violin or changing the national sentiment. And then there are those that come from a simple smile in the moment, an extended hand, or a warm embrace, which can sometimes make all the difference in the world. I am wishing you a week of miracles large and small.

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle;
you can live as if everything is a miracle

– Albert Einstein