It’s November……I didn’t grow up in the United States but, having lived here for the majority of my life, I have grown to love the month of November for the simple reason of the Thanksgiving Holiday tradition and celebration.
Initially, in my younger adult years, this holiday didn’t mean a whole lot to me. But now I can honestly say it has become my favorite celebration. A holiday that does not entail the exchange of gifts and, instead, simply allows for recognition of that for which we are grateful and thankful.
Of course, as with any tradition and holiday celebration, there are stressors, emotions and feelings of obligation for many. It also falls right before the “big” Holiday Season of Christmas, Hanukkah, Qwanza, etc. that is filled with emotion and stress for almost everyone – whether you love it or hate it!
But, if you move back all the energy involved in the build up to the Holidays, the hype, the retail push, the financial burden, the sense of having too many people to please or placate and simply look at Thanksgiving for the energy and opportunity it provides, you might more easily see and experience its gift……the gift of taking a moment to recognize all that you have to be thankful for.
In my meditation the other morning, I was struggling. There was a lot of effort involved in sitting and tuning into myself. Thoughts, worries, responsibilities were distracting me and I was uncomfortable. I found myself resenting some people who it seemed did not have my best interests at heart and were perhaps even blocking my path forwards. My energy was being dragged down by the negativity I was experiencing.
Then suddenly I became tired of sitting in this negative vibration and I found myself saying quietly to each and every person I was aware of “I love you and I wish you well”. This action immediately changed my energy vibration and allowed me to begin the process of not only accepting the struggles and challenges I was facing, but also to be grateful for them. I recognized each of those individuals in my life who challenged me as an opportunity to grow, rather than a stumbling block. Someone and something to be thankful for.
I also recalled a recent visit to my local supermarket in order to purchase some Mr. Clean Magic Erasers – I was in the middle of a long overdue and particularly difficult cleaning project at home. Having thrown every natural cleaning product and remedy at it without success, I pulled out a Magic Eraser and immediately began to see results. Hence the trip to the store to buy more.
As I was checking out, the cashier said with some amusement, “Do those work on parts of your life? You know those moments you’d like to erase!” I laughed in response, and said, “Actually, given the choice to erase parts of my life, I would say no”.
Even those times of such acute embarrassment that I wished the floor would just swallow me up. Or those times of intense pain, when I couldn’t see past the pain, couldn’t see a way out. I am grateful for all of them, for the ways in which I was able to grow as a result.
This morning, walking my dog, Sadie in the rain, I was able to be grateful for this change in the weather and the gift of that rainfall on our particularly parched part of the world. Getting soaked in the process was a pleasure rather than a problem.
There is so much to be thankful for…… living in a democracy, where freedom of speech is a right, where I do not fear for my life every moment, where I have a roof over my head, clean running water, electricity providing heat and comfort, a full refrigerator, access to healthcare, a society that values education and encourages learning.
Are there areas that can be improved? Of course. Always. That’s what keeps life interesting.
Are there people, situations, events and experiences that infuriate you and make your blood boil? Of course. How else would we find ways to overcome our differences, work towards understanding the cultural diversity in the world and learn to conquer that which would divide us.
The next time you find yourself in a deep, dark place…. first recognize it, then see if you can find the light at the end of the tunnel. Make the decision to be thankful for the challenge you are facing or in the middle of.
When you take control of each and every situation you find yourself in, even the painful ones, you might just find that challenge more manageable and surmountable when looked at as an opportunity for growth and healing, rather than something you don’t deserve.
Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for each and every one of you!