Thanksgiving Thoughts from Elaine

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2020

Dearest Friends,

What I have learned over my five decades on earth is that what we feel and how we choose to see things is a choice, a practice, or as Charles Henderson would say, “an act of will.”

Whatever our usual Thanksgiving traditions, this year will almost certainly be different. We might be missing our loved ones who we regularly see on this holiday, or we will be grieving someone we have lost, or feeling like “giving thanks” is almost too much to bear after the year we have had.

It goes without saying that we all have been slogging through a very tough year, and adjusting to a new normal. There have been so many difficult lessons learned that most of us would never have chosen.

So… what if this is the year we reconsider how we celebrate Thanksgiving? What if we take the pressure off a bit in all the planning, organizing and cooking? What if we stay in the present moment and actively choose to see the good?

Let’s play a game I call, “Instead of”- it takes us out of our normal, rote behaviors and forces us to look at things in a new way.
focusing on the food preparation, cleaning up and your stunning table scape, focus on making meaningful connections.
Why not gift everyone at the table the chance to truly settle into meaningful conversation where there is laughter, relaxation, and dare I say, even healthy debate.

I am not saying that you have to dump all the planning and creativity out of the equation. I am only saying maybe you pull back on it all having to be “so perfect” because honestly sister- it’s just never going to be!!!

Do your best to be mindful of conversation, and choose to be a good listener. It puts everyone at ease and creates space for vulnerability and for people to feel heard and understood.
Another thought is to allow your children (kids, tweens, young adults etc…) to play a role in the cooking and let loose a bit. I know what all my serious “cook friends” are thinking.. ‘if I let them help cook, the food might suck.’  Kidding! But, here’s the good news… perfection isn't necessary for you and your family to have a nice Thanksgiving. Keep your sense of humor! And, remember that striving for that Instagram-worthy holiday spread will only stress you out and will eventually lead you to a “I hate my family” holiday moment!! Another quick thought is to forgo cooking all together and order ahead of time from a local restaurant. God knows small businesses need us now more than ever before!
“playing pretend’, allow ALL feelings to be acknowledged.
Even in difficult times, there is so much to be grateful for. That does NOT mean that we need to plaster on a smile. It means that we can acknowledge the fear, the heartbreak, the disappointment, the suffering. Simply put, we can honor the fullness of our humanity and all that comes with that.

At the same time, we can do our best to resist protecting ourselves with cynicism, resentment and bitterness. We can fully embody our “aliveness” and use it to create more good in the world. We can remember that life doesn't have to be anywhere near perfect to be perfectly imperfect and wonderful. We can draw strength from rejoicing in what's good.

And, most importantly we can honor and embrace our most meaningful relationships because that’s where we find and feel the most gratitude in our lives anyway.
thinking about the next thing you must do right after you take your last bite of turkey, (Black Friday sales, getting the Christmas tree up and decorating), choose to be in the present moment.
Choosing to stay present is one of the best ways to feel and experience gratitude. It’s when we allow our minds to wander for the longing of “what was’ or the anxiousness of “what will be” that we lose our sense of what’s most important. When we stay right here, right now, we are able to see the clarity in our everyday, ordinary blessings. We are able to soak up the goodness that exists right in front of us. Because, honestly my friends, that’s all we really have anyway- everything else is an illusion.
Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S if all else fails make sure to keep your sense of humor - this SNL Thanksgiving clip will help! It's my all time favorite. 

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