It often feels like there are a million reasons to be grieving. Celebration and gratitude can seem out of place in a world desperately in need of love and healing. But to foster love we need to lean in more than ever to celebrating life. For healing we need to lean in to gratitude. We can take our hearts, so tender from imbibing all of the world’s pain, and use that softness to bring forth the sweet fragrance of forgiveness, understanding, gentleness, and caring.
Thoughts about what is going wrong are like candy to mind; addictive, enjoyable, and they eventually make us sick. Thanksgiving is chance to practice replacing those thoughts with the fruit and vegetables of the mind which are thoughts of thankfulness and gratitude.
There are so many small things that I forget to be thankful for that are truly miracles to experience. For example, I can walk and talk, my digestive system works well and my body is healthy, I can sing and dance, I can gaze at the moon on clear nights, I can hear birdsongs in the early morning. These thoughts are seldom mulled over in my mind the way worries are. So this holiday season I’m going on a mind diet; less candy, more fruits and vegetables. You can do this too by noticing what thoughts are most consistently running through your mind and making a choice to consume thoughts of thanks instead of complaints.
On a personal note, I have to tell you all how thankful I am every day for the community here at Let Yourself Learn, for this opportunity to delve more deeply into the ocean of living with you all, and for your love and support which permeate my every day. Bless you truly, and good luck with your holiday mind diet!
The lessons I’ve received since undergoing surgery a couple of weeks ago are just beginning to emerge into something I can write down. While I am still recovering and understanding the profundity of this new experience, there is one simple truth I woke up with, in my anesthesia haze, that still hasn’t left my mind: I am so grateful to be alive. I couldn’t have envisioned the physical pain I felt the first week after surgery, but it was made gentler by the simple satisfaction of still being here, still having the opportunity to experience living.
As I get better each day, life’s more ordinary cares and worries are emerging once again. Yet those too are put at bay by the knowledge that the most important goal has already been achieved; I’m here! Everything we strive for, worry about, and long for, are all luxuries that come with being alive. And I’m so grateful that you’re all here too, as we experience this life together.
Surgery has given me a nice new titanium plate in my skull, endless sweet well wishes from loved ones, and an extremely thankful heart. As Thanksgiving approaches I hope the satisfaction of living extends straight from my heart to yours. (And that you don’t need a craniotomy to get the message!)
A lot of commercials on TV this time of year talk about how to relieve “holiday stress.” Stress is a symptom of a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment.
Have you gone too far ahead into future thoughts, or slipped backwards into thoughts of the past?
The dysfunction that manifests as stress may be a sign that the present moment has become a means to an end, as Tolle often points out in A New Earth. This can happen easily when the present moment contains planning, cooking, organizing, and preparing for an event that in some cases involves many people. This can also occur if an event is viewed as unfavorable and you are waiting for it to be over. Yet, truly successful ends are dependent upon successful means. Meaning, that the present moment experience creates the experience of present moments to come.
If the holidays create stress for you, give your mind a break from thoughts of past and future. Holidays are reminders to enjoy the experience of the present moment; signifying its importance and wonderment available not only during this one present moment experience, but at all times.
When I get too serious about situations I say to myself, “This is just for fun!” Figuring out what will snap you back to the present, where all joy resides, can be an enjoyable and infinitely fruitful learning experience. This Thanksgiving let yourself experience the space from which all there is to be thankful for emerges, the present.
Ten Things I’m Thankful For (In No Particular Order):
- My health.
- The ability to walk and the use of my arms. (Ok I said two things here, but they are both under the general category of working extremities).
- Food and the ability to digest food.
- The five senses.
- Being alive.
- The experience of love.
- The eternal present.
- Other human beings. (My family, friends, co-workers, people I haven’t met yet, you).
- The planet earth and how I get to live on it. (Thanks to the movie Gravity for really solidifying my love of planet earth).
The more you are thankful for, the more you end up having to be thankful for! Where does your gratitude gravitate this Thanksgiving?