Thanksgiving is a tricky holiday. I mean, the mere idea of it, the whole concept, in fact, is simply being present enough on this one day…to be thankful. At times it seems crazy to me that we need an actual holiday to remind us to be thankful, but with life constantly throwing curve balls at us, and the simple daily grind of living, it is hard to maintain the position of gratefulness.
For many of us, finding things to be grateful for is not hard at all. We are thankful to have our family, no matter how large or small, our children, the house that provides us shelter each night…even in less fortunate situations there are things to be thankful for. Actually, I often witness those with the least in their possession, with the hardest of circumstances, are often the most grateful. But maybe that is what hardship does to us as humans. It creates humility and hope. It creates a lowered expectation of just what ‘lucky’ feels like. Perhaps the less you have…the more thankful you are, just to simply be alive.
Yet for us that flourish, have the gift of large, healthy, happy families, have money in the bank, a beautiful home we call shelter…the more apt we are to be running through life without a moment of consciousness.
As the week of Thanksgiving approaches, rather than taking the time to breathe, inhaling all the delicacies of life around us, we find ourselves rushing around.
Hurry up! Your brain chants…have to get to the store, beat the crowds, weave around bad drivers, suffer through parking and make lists upon lists! There are so many lists for Thanksgiving: the guests, set up, the cooking, the baking…and don’t get me started on the clean up!
All the while, though, this hurrying through your to-do lists, robs you of the most important part of life: Being present. If you maintain that pace all the way through the holiday, making time only to rest at the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day, all the while thinking about how clean up will go, you have already missed it. Black Friday will be upon you and it will be like you never had a Thanksgiving at all.
But it isn’t too late! While you are hurrying through this preparation period, allow yourself the space to wait in a line patiently, observing things in the store that maybe you never noticed. Notice the items in the cart in front of you and try to guess from their purchases what kind of Thanksgiving they will be having. Instead of driving around in circles to get the closest spot at the store, park far away, bundle up and walk! While walking though, think about the people who will be at your table this year…and how grateful you are to have them. And most importantly, take the time to breathe. Literally lie down when you have five minutes, close your eyes, and inhale so deeply that you can hear each aspect of your breathe while acknowledging how precious this life is. The one you have created for yourself. The one you have created for others.
After all, it is Thanksgiving.