Well here we are, in the United States anyway, with another major Holiday in the rear view and heading full tilt into the Christmas Season. Thanksgiving Day, a day to stop, reflect, and give thanks for all of the abundance around us, to be grateful for our homes, our families.....basically everything that is “good” in our lives.
How very American, to schedule a Holiday to give thanks....when in all actuality, giving thanks should be an every minute of every day occurrence. I know, I know, Thanksgiving is historical in nature, a meal between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans whose land they were just beginning to plunder....a benchmark in the development of our country, yada, yada, yada....but historical aspects aside, let's just take a minute to look at the gratitude of Thanksgiving.
Since Thanksgiving is about togetherness, I think it would be safe to assume that first and foremost, Thanksgiving is about the people. Now those “people” don't have to be family members, and in many instances, you are better off if they aren't, but for me, it is a duality, friends and family.
Family. Yep, I'm grateful for that....but whether it is a late night snack with my teenage son or a meal on the go with my daughter, I am grateful. A nice quiet evening with Gary, or a family birthday or celebration that brings everyone together....I am grateful.
Friends. Well, in most aspects, my friends are my family. They are the ones I turn to when I need to laugh, cry, share and grow. My friends bring me joy, tears, laughter and good times, we dish, bitch, you name it....and for the wonderful, beautiful people in my life that I have the honor to call my friends....I am grateful.
Work. My work is another something something I am grateful for. To have the opportunity to wake up each and every day and get paid to do what I love, what a blessing. Whether it is a day working with words or caught up in research and communication...what a cool thing to be fortunate enough to make a living doing the things I am passionate about. For my work, each and every day....I am grateful.
And Stuff. We are supposed to be grateful for stuff too, right? Well, my home is nice, safe, warm, and a great place to both live and work out of and for that, I am grateful. My car, runs, is comfortable and safe and for that, I am grateful. But possessions can be a tricky thing. A great teacher, Rev. John F. Schulte, once told me that, “Everything in your experience, you share energy with. If it does not serve a purpose or it does not bring you joy – let it go.”
I think that oftentimes, people get caught up in the acquisition of “stuff” and that can blur the gratitude of any day, especially Thanksgiving. Now I'm not sitting here pointing fingers, because the acquisition of “stuff” is something I can be guilty of too. Wishing I had a new house, new rug, new this or new that. But those feelings and drive towards acquiring more “stuff” didn't bring me joy – it made me focus on what I did not have, and in turn I was not grateful for the beauty that was already surrounding me. So what if my couch was old or my end tables didn't match, why did I spend the energy focusing on that rather than the fact I have always had a safe, warm home to raise my children in. Always remember, at the end of the day, if it does not serve a purpose or it does not bring you joy – let it go.
It is the people in your life that truly make a difference, whether friends, family, a neighbor, coworker, or even a kind stranger in the supermarket....look for the good things, the smiles, the thank yous, the things to be grateful for. If you have a warm bed to sleep in, be grateful. If you have a job that meets your needs financially and emotionally, be grateful. If you have good health, be grateful. I could go on and on with this, but the important thing is to find at least five things to be grateful for each and every day. Write them down, refer back to them, and remember, gratitude...always.
Thanksgiving is a state of mind, and the more things that you can reach for and for which you can be truly grateful, the more peace you will have in your life. And as we head towards the frantic pace of the Christmas Season, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Peace one of the themes?