Thanksgiving is easily one of my favorite holidays. Part of the reason is that a few years ago, I convinced my family to let me host the gathering. Even though we live in the smallest house of all of our relatives, including the smallest kitchen of any house anywhere and no dishwasher.
We squeeze 11 people around a table that can really only fit five and then do dishes for hours and hours afterwards but there is something so satisfying about this day. Part of it is the food. Part of it is the loved ones all around. Part of it is the focus on giving thanks for all of it.
I recently read this article that gives some very practical tips for what to do when fear is keeping us from kindness.
Practicing gratitude as an antidote to fear is not mentioned in the article, but maybe it should be. There is SO much that is worthy of our gratitude.
Gratitude as Yoga
In order to express sincere thankfulness, we have to be present. We can use gratitude as a tool to help us reconnect with our awareness and it becomes a yogic practice.
What keeps you present?
It could be breath.
Or maybe those delicious smells of Thanksgiving dinner.
What about being present to the laughter of your family?
Or the warmth of you mug of tea.
Sometimes someone else says something you are thinking better than you can:
Gratitude is not a passive response to something we have been given; gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us. -Davide Whyte
At my annual fall retreat last weekend, a participant came into the kitchen as I was setting out all of the amazing food that had been prepared for us. She remarked how easy it can be for us to take for granted just how lucky we are and how much we have. Then we both took a silent moment to observe, admire and appreciate the food and each other. It was a beautiful moment of yogic gratitude.
May your month ahead be full of moments of gratitude just like that one!