As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s not too early to name some intentions for the holiday. For some, Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday shared with loved ones; for others, it’s a reminder of loneliness or challenging family dynamics that repeat year after year. How to make this year’s holiday a more positive one for all?
If you remember that Gratitude is a way of BEING first and foremost, you can carry any intention to enjoy a holiday in a variety of circumstances. Visualize and name all the things you feel grateful for in your life—your vocation, your home, your support network, your hobbies—and let the sensation of gratitude fill you up and allow this feeling to linger before leaving your body at its own pace. No rush.
Next, consider the various scenarios you’ll be experiencing this holiday—the people you’ll be spending your time with, the food, the intimate conversations, etc. Sense them and pause. Whatever feelings that come up, reconnect to the gratitude you’ve just experienced and allowed that gratitude to override any challenging emotions you might have. Or, allow the gratitude to amplify the good feelings you might have. Whatever the scenario, the practice of replacing your thoughts and feelings with more positive ones tied to your gratitude practice and awareness can allow you to “jump tracks” into a higher concept way of being during the holidays. Be patient with yourself. The practice of awareness and reconnection is a cycle that can become more familiar and habitual, giving you an effective tool to apply in the next few weeks and beyond.
Here are practices to share gratitude this Thanksgiving: (of course while practicing social-distancing and Covid-safety)
- Before your meal, go around the table and ask everyone to share one thing they are grateful for this year. This will uplift everyone and the food will taste better too.
- Take everyone on a Gratitude Walk. Suggest that they contemplate as they are walking all the things they are grateful for in their life. Then, when you return home, you can share your gratitude and experience.
- Take a bunch of Thank You note cards and ask each person to write a heartfelt “Thank You” to one person that has made a difference in their life.
- Write a letter of gratitude to yourself. After all, you deserve acknowledgment also and the more you appreciate yourself, the more you will allow yourself to receive from the universe.
- Give everyone at your table a Gratitude Journal. Have everyone write their name at the top of the first blank page. Pass it around and have each person at the table write what they love and appreciate about the person whose Journal they have. When the Gratitude Journal makes its way back to the owner, it will be full of love and gratitude for the person it belongs to. This is a great way to start a Gratitude Journal.
- Make place cards with your favorite gratitude quote. Here’s one to get you started:
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”