The Art of BeingThankful Everyday

Many of us are undoubtedly in the midst of Thanksgiving dinner preparations which are due to commence this Thursday, November 24th.  I am also busy making my dinner menu, preparing grocery lists, washing grandma’s favorite china, polishing the silver ware and I even took a quickie tutorial on the art of pumpkin pie making so chances that I will not mess up the pumpkin pies are more in my favor!
I must say, the idea of a nice fat turkey roasting in the oven warms my heart along with my mom’s delicious cornbread stuffing, hot bubbly gravy, corn pudding, sweet potatoes with those little marshmallows on top for an extra sweet taste, green veggies and lots of rolls to soak up all the gravy.   Eventhough Thanksgiving is mostly centered around food,  we should  take time to remember there is much more to Thanksgiving than meets the eye.
Because of my geographical location, I am asked quite often, “Why do  Americans celebrate the turkey?”  My first response is, “We do not celelbrate the turkey!” followed by a brief history of Thanksgiving and why we celebrate it in the U.S.   Since these are mainly children who ask me this question I always  add more emphasis to the word Thanksgiving and what “giving thanks” really means.
In my book, Thanksgiving is a time to focus on all the good we have in our lives.  First and foremost, our loved ones, family and friends who are there for us through the highs and lows that life brings our way are to be deeply appreciated.  Especially those who are no longer with us although we carry their memory in our hearts.  Those souls who truly touched our lives and who helped us to grow, to understand and who guided us along the path to becoming better people.  It’s about appreciating your life and all the wonderful things that are happening now and all that will happen in the future.
Although there is heavy turmoil on the planet right now and it seems there is upheaval in every direction, there is also so much good being done.  There is an incredible amount of light in the world, even if it seems we cannot see it, it’s there.   I guarantee it.
Everyday, I make it a point to remember and give thanks for everything in my life, including the bad days when I feel a little out of sorts, or even if there seems to be more stress than usual because I see everyday as another learning experience.  Living is learning.  It’s also about learning to love one another and learning to forgive.   Everyday we learn more and more about ourselves, about where we are going, where we have been and about the people around us.  I also remember what has caused me great pain in my life.  Sometimes events or circumstances that hurt us the most are the hardest lessons to overcome.  I can’t say I am glad to have experienced pain or disagreeable circumstances, but I am thankful for them in a sense that those experiences have made me stronger and wiser and I’ve learned to appreciate them in all their entirety.  It seems that the hardest lessons life throws at us, are the ones we  benefit from the most.
This year, when you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, you might want to start a new tradition and go around the table and ask each person what they are thankful for.   This question propels us into our center and momentarily diverts our appetites from stuffing ourselves full of yummy goodies to a heart felt sense of appreciation, which only deepens our understanding of the significance of Thanksgiving.  Remember, the art of being thankful is simply to look inside your hearts, to love, to forgive and to appreciate every moment of your lives.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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