It’s Thanksgiving week and my favorite holiday of the year. I love it because it’s a time to get together with family and/or friends, socialize and eat yummy food. Healthy comfort food mostly! It is a day to indulge in conversation, play games, take a walk, watch football, or just be.
Many of my clients dread this time of year. Memories of the past invade their minds and they dwell on images, conversations, and actions of others that have ruined the holidays for them in the past. If you are one of these people I’d like to encourage you to explore a different outlook this year.
Years ago in Louisville, Kentucky I saw a small plaque hanging on the wall of a gift shop. To this day I regret not purchasing it, however, it’s message is still imprinted in my mind:
“NEVER LOOK BACK EXCEPT TO GAIN PERSPECTIVE”
Nothing rings more true than this. This message is what we need in order to focus on looking forward. The past is the past, memories are only memories and have nothing to do with today or the future. We can learn to let these memories go by focusing on the here and now and enjoying what is happening in our lives right now.
The true meaning of the holiday can often be overshadowed by food, family outbursts, and traditions gone wrong. Fortunately, as cliché as it might sound, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for everything and everyone we are fortunate enough to have in our lives.
If your family is challenging to be around for the holidays, then create a new family. Good friends can be as good, if not better, to celebrate with than the family you grew up with. After all, friends are the family we choose for ourselves.
So whether your Thanksgiving involves a hectic day in an overheated kitchen, a lazy day on the couch watching football, or perhaps a day not so different than any other, take time to think about everyone and everything you appreciate in your life. The little things or the people who are always there, no matter what, can be good places to start your thanks.
As for my thankfulness, I am deeply appreciative for you in my life and the connection we have. Whether you are or have been a client of mine or are a potential one, one of my colleagues, part of my family or one of my friends, please know that each of you is important to me and it is an honor to be able to connect with you. Thank you for being you and trusting in me.
Eight Tips for a Bountiful Thanksgiving
1. Reach out, connect with others and send them your appreciation. It does make a difference.
2. Have a potluck dinner with your friends or family. It creates less stress in the kitchen and more time for a game or Monopoly tournament.
3. Order your food ahead of time: choose fresh, organic meats and vegetables.
4. Make plans in advance with your friends and family. Organizing food for 10 takes more than a day’s notice and you don’t want to be questioning your plans or stressing out the night before.
5. Indulge in tradition: Enjoy every bite of what you might not normally eat AND pumpkin pie.
6. If you are feeling ambitious, try making a new dish.
7. Know someone that doesn’t have anywhere to go? Invite them to join your family, sometimes a stranger is the perfect way to break up the family’s usual dynamic.
8. Always do your best to stay in the present moment and be thankful for what is, because no matter what, things just are what they are.