Giving Thanks

In conversations over the past few weeks, I have heard a number of people comment that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. My Dad said this often when I was growing up but I did not understand. My favorite holiday then was Christmas. I used to think that Dad preferred Thanksgiving because he is shy and does not feel comfortable receiving gifts, or because he does not like the fanfare often associated with celebrating the Christmas holiday. But I now understand Dad’s preference and enthusiastically share it. I love Thanksgiving. I love a day devoted to gratitude.

For the vast majority of us, our gratitude is externally focused. We are rightfully grateful to those we love – our family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and the many people who love, help and support us. The list of people to whom I am grateful grows each year and I know that my expressions of thanks pale in comparison to the abundance of love and help I receive. Many of us also thank a higher power or positive force in the universe, and I believe this is also very important.

This Thanksgiving, I suggest that you take time to thank a wonderful person you sometimes neglect — YOU! It may seem that 2012 just began, yet here we are a few weeks from the year’s end. No matter who you are and how the year has unfolded, you have changed. You have gained experience and have grown wiser. My hope is that you have become more aware of the amazing person you are. I also hope that you have a growing understanding of what is most important to you and what makes you happy. Whether or not my hopes for you were realized in 2012, you have changed and you know that self-discovery is not always an easy process. My first Thanksgiving suggestion is that you find the time to write a loving letter of gratitude to yourself, acknowledging how well you have orchestrated the positive changes in your life and how well you have handled the challenges. I suggest that you thank yourself even more effusively than you thank others because you truly deserve the attention and the gratitude.

My second suggestion this Thanksgiving is that you devote some time to expressing gratitude to Mother Earth. Few of us have the deep connection to Earth that those in low-resource countries have. We do need to plant and harvest the food that sustains us and our families, and we sometimes take that process for granted. A few years ago, a young girl taught me a blessing that I still find striking in its beauty and simplicity. It helps me express my gratitude before enjoying my meals…

Earth, who gave to us this food,
Sun who made it ripe and good,
Dearest Earth and dearest Sun,
We’ll not forget what you have done.
Blessings on our meal, and peace upon the Earth.

Happy Thanksgiving! May peace, love and gratitude prevail.

14 Responses to Giving Thanks

  1. Ann lee-jeffs November 27, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    Hello Sharon:

    This Thanksgiving was very unique in that my mom who is 82 and me were on the plane together, heading to Seoul to visit relatives, and grandmother’s (min side) grave. I am still with my mom in Seoul, now, in a train to visit relatives in a city outside of Seoul. It has been over 20 years since my mom and me spent this many days together just the two of us.

    Being with mom makes me feel like a child again, and it is so very special! I am glad that I am taking the time for myself and my mom to give this special gift of time to ourselves.

    Your words are so very thoughtful, and makes me realize that reflection on things, and not forgetting about me is so vital to health and well being for me and my family.

    Thank you!
    Ann

    • sharon November 29, 2012 at 12:55 am #

      Ann, thank you very much for sharing your wonderful experience with your mom. My heart smiles whenever someone says “it makes me feel like a child again.” I am happy for you and for your mom!

      Sending a hug,

      Sharon

  2. RAMONA November 27, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    the fact that we woke up this morning is the greatest gift.
    we have an opportunity to make a difference.
    thank you, for all the positive energy and direction.
    big hug
    my oldest dog stumbled down the stairs this morning and pinned her leg.
    i tried to help her get up and get off the stairs.
    she knew i was trying to help. she is a large dog and heavy.
    but she and i worked together and got her up and off the landing.
    today i am going to get a body harness, so i can help her when she struggles.
    i hope that each of you, puts your arms around someone and tries to help when they stumble.
    KEEP COUNTING YOUR BLESSINGS.

    • sharon November 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts, Ramona. I love your closing wish for us and your advice. Sending a very big hug along with my thanks.

      Sharon

  3. Paula November 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    Sharon,
    Beautifully written. And, what you suggest is challenging; I will think about writing a note of gratitude to myself. I am so thankful, but you are correct–it is difficult to focus on the positives internally. I will try. 🙂

    And I love that poem.

    Happy Thanksgiving. May it be a day of peace for you externally and internally. May we all imagine more peace around us, in us, and even far away where it is hard to ever imagine peace.

    • sharon November 21, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

      Many thanks for your comments, Paula, and your wish for peace. As you consider thanking yourself, I encourage you to focus on the “positives,” as you call them, remembering that there are many!

      Sending love and a big Thanksgiving hug,

      Sharon

  4. Anne November 21, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    Sharon,
    I wish we all stepped back and enjoyed the blessings we have a bit more often. My son shared a quote with me the other day – “Beware the emptiness of a busy life”…his way of telling me to slow down and smell the roses, I guess, and to be thankful for what we have. Not just on thanksgiving – although the holiday certainly encourages it – but every day….

    But while we are thankful, we have to remember the work to be done, those around the world that are not as fortunate as we are…. And to make choices that help, not hurt, the planet.

    Thanks for reminding us all to take a step back! Enjoy your break!
    Anne

    • sharon November 21, 2012 at 10:15 am #

      Anne, thank you very much for taking the time to share your thoughts and the quote your son discovered. Perhaps we can all remind each other to slow down and be aware. Thanks, too, for reminding us “to make choices that help, not hurt, the planet.”

      Sending a Thanksgiving hug,

      Sharon

  5. Margaret Kilibwa November 20, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Dear Sharon,
    Thank you for sharing the expression of thanksgiving idea in your blog. For me, the opportunity to give thanks and to experience moments of gratitude are all an expression of divine love in us. Like your dad knew and understood, this is an incredibly wonderful holiday – allowing us to go to that place, to those times, to that time – even now, when we can be grateful that we feel our breath!
    Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to all!
    With gratitude,
    Margaret

    • sharon November 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

      Many thanks for your comments and your insight, Margaret. May this be a beautiful Thanksgiving for you and those you love.

      With love, gratitude and a big hug,

      Sharon

  6. Katy Minuski (Fillman) November 20, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    Sharon,

    As you know, this has been a very busy and beautiful year for me, full of changes! I am very grateful to have you in my life and I absolutely agree with your outlook on Thanksgiving! I also love the blessing you shared celebrating Earth. I would love to use it in the future. Have a lovely holiday!

    Katy

    • sharon November 20, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

      And I am grateful to have you in my life, Katy. I hope that you and those you love have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

      With love and a hug,

      Sharon

  7. MJ November 19, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Dear Sharon,
    Your beautifully written article totally resonated with me. I have seen many changes this past year and have gained a lot of wisdom, strength and clarity in the process. Thank you, Sharon . . . for being the beautiful person that you are. I hope you know that you are loved by many and you continue to make a positive impact in the lives of all you touch. You are truly a blessing. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    MJ

    • sharon November 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

      How very kind you are, MJ. Thanks so much for your comments and for sharing that you gained “wisdom, strength and clarity” through the changes you have navigated this year. Congratulations!

      With love, gratitude and best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday,

      Sharon