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.