Updated: Oct 11, 2021
Sometimes all we need to do is reframe a word and voila! it takes on a new meaning or we hear for the first time its intended meaning. I refer here to Thanksgiving becoming thanks-giving. Giving thanks. Expressing gratitude.
I know this North American holiday is a rife cultural minefield. The whole schtick about pilgrims and "Indians" sharing a friendly feast is an abomination. A lie bigger and at least as equally damaging as the myth of female equality and a free market. But do we throw the baby out with the bathwater?
Not at all because not everything needs to be taken literally. We can acknowledge the challenges while still finding the kernels of truth within. At a very basic level, gratitude for abundance of community, abundance of food, and blessings on the new year's up coming harvest is what lies at the heart of this holiday.
So, I'm just gonna go ahead and embrace the intention of Thanksgiving. Because being in a state of gratitude is life-affirming, heart-lifting, and spirit-nourishing. You literally cannot go wrong when saying thank you. It not only has emotional health benefits but it has been proven to increase physical health.
A daily gratitude practice has been shown to significantly increase your happiness — and your physical health. Practicing gratitude improves sleep, boosts immunity and decreases the risk of disease - Mayo Clinic
My bedtime routine includes saying my gratitudes. These are silent shout-outs to the Universe for all the good things and, when I'm feeling strong and not particularly peevish, for the challenges and the lessons I am graciously invited to explore. My list starts with, "Thank you for watching over my children, Paul, and our cats. Thank you for keeping them all safe, healthy and happy." And then I move on from there to whatever takes my fancy to acknowledge.
We are social animals (or so they tell me; this introvert sometimes finds herself in a contradictory position) and at the very core of our need for connection is sharing. A hug, a kind word, a mentorship, a laugh, some wisdom. Even Mother Nature is in a sharing position. When I need a mood boost, I visit my favourite tree who is more than forthcoming with positive, healing vibes. I like to think that it is reciprocated.
Every day we are offered opportunities to share of ourselves and to be thankful for it. No grand gesture required. The smallest of things can uplift us:
Paul habitually makes me a perfect cup of coffee in the morning where I get to enjoy it in bed before greeting the day. I feel loved, seen, and appreciated.
When Paul's shirt collar is all askew, I reach up and adjust it. He feels noticed, and cared for.
When a chipmunk or a bird pays particular attention to me, pauses a little longer than usual to connect with me, I feel cocooned in the safekeeping of Mother Nature.
When one of my children sends me a funny Reddit meme that speaks to the nature of our relationship, I feel remembered and appreciated.
Stuff like that. It feels good. And when we feel good, we spread goodwill.
I will end by saying this: Thank you to all of you who read my blog, who send appreciative notes in response, who make me feel seen, heard, and appreciated. It is my hope that the feelings are mutual.
Happy Thanks-Giving! Spread the word.