Archives for posts with tag: thanksgiving celebration

I’m sipping my second coffee on a proper day off. I highly recommend taking the occasional actual day off from work (and yes, even from non-work routines). Real down time. Don’t check that email. Don’t answer those calls. Don’t participate in “just one meeting”. Be available for you, once in a while.

…There are very few things that feel reliably more luxurious, satisfying, and nurturing than having my own undivided attention for a few hours, a day, or a weekend… Just saying. Totally worth doing, even during a pandemic. Even if social distancing. Even staying right here at home. I like the woman in the mirror, rather a lot these days, and I enjoy her company greatly. (If you don’t feel well-disposed toward that human being you face in your mirror each day, well… it’s a great place to begin again, on better terms!)

It is a lovely autumn morning, well-suited to all sorts of things I might like to do with my time.

Autumn is already more than just hints of color, or occasional leaves found on the deck.

It is a chilly morning. Yesterday, there was even ice on the windshield of my car, well past sunrise. I enjoyed my morning coffee with my Traveling Partner. I took time to soak in the hot tub, watching the morning sunshine warm the dewy rooftops, steamy vapor rising into the air. I listened to the birds in the neighbor’s pear tree arguing over the not-yet-ripe pears, hoping they’d leave a few unmarred by pecking, but not particularly concerned about it. My mind wandered briefly to chores and housekeeping, and weekend meals, and I made some “mental notes” (promptly forgotten) about things I could add to my list. No pressure.

Today is definitely about “no pressure”, and that feels good.

The holiday season crossed my mind. Gifts to think about. Meals to consider. Guests to invite. No guests; there’s a pandemic going on. No, seriously – and it is serious – we’re okay here at home, and fortunate to enjoy each other in close quarters over a long period of time. (I sometimes suspect our military experience gives us an advantage; we “work as a unit”, even when we are aggravated with each other.) I know there are people who are frustrated with the constraints placed upon them by pandemic life. I get it. I just think it’s worth making the effort to be generally safe, generally respectful of the wellness of others, and generally fully compliant with the requirement to practice social distancing, to wear a mask, to avoid crowds. Yes, even close family crowds at important family events; those people will go home (and so will you), having shared whatever they’ve been exposed to, and to share what they were exposed to at the event. It’s not an acceptable risk, from my perspective. We see it play out in the news every week; a big gathering, a spike in new cases of COVID-19. It honestly just seems like an easy choice to me… so, since March, my partner and I stay home, except for a handful of difficult to avoid errands. It complicated house hunting. It complicated the closing. It complicated the move.

…Both of us remain well. Worth the complications.

We relaxed enough to allow my partner’s son (my step-son) to visit after we finished moving in. I regretted that more than a little bit, as much I enjoyed seeing him, particularly after he admitted to attending gatherings of friends, more recently than two weeks prior to traveling to see us… and… he did have to travel. He was here less than two weeks. Yes, it caused me stress to consider that with greater care – too late to change the planning. I am unlikely to make another exception as we head into flu season. I’d rather not even get the flu, or a head cold, and social distancing and mask wearing has definitely reduced my exposure to those risks! Win.

…But… Thanksgiving…!?! Giftmas??

Yeah. Thanksgiving. Giftmas, too. Fuck your Thanksgiving feast and holiday parties if they send half your family home to far away places with new exposure to COVID-19, and with increased potential of losing loved ones to it. I mean, seriously? Weddings too. Baby showers. Parties of all kinds. Music festivals. Worship. Celebrations. All of it. Fuck every minute of every “important life event” any one of us chooses to attend that results in the loss of someone else’s life. What right do we have, as individuals, to be callous with someone else’s risk of death?

So. Holidays will be simple this year, here at home. Cards. Letters. Calls. Merriment. A comfy holiday at home – intimate, joyful, and low-stress. Healthy, too, maybe…? (I am one of those folks who nearly always has a head cold, or is “just getting over” – or just catching – the flu, right around Thanksgiving or Giftmas – maybe not this year?)

I sip my coffee and smile. We’ve already figured out where the Giftmas tree will go… and there’s so much room for it… 🙂 Right now, that’s enough. I look at the time. The lovely day stretches out ahead of me. It looks like a good one to take a walk on an untraveled trail… or simply to begin again. 🙂

As I sit here, feet up, hot cup of tea on the table next to me, basking in the commonplace comforts of home and hearth: indoor plumbing, clean drinking water, a home warm against autumn chill, a nutritious breakfast, electricity, efficiency improving appliances, clean dry clothes, internet access… I realize how very special every bit of that actually is. How luxurious. How extraordinary! I have the added luxury of good employment – I am neither exploited nor abused to earn my living, and I have leisure time I can count on.  I can comfortably spend this morning on yoga, meditation, study, and enjoy the quiet contentment of nourishing my heart and soul, of healing, of growing, of learning, in a safe and secure space, quiet and uninterrupted.  It seems very worthwhile to extend a few moments of real appreciation for all of it, to stop for a minute and make time for gratitude.

Gratitude is a pretty big deal. Thanksgiving is coming, and it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle of planning and shopping, so easy to get swept up in a moment of emotional turmoil over some small stressor, or challenge, or inconvenience, and forget about the thanks implied by the holiday we celebrate. So easy, actually, that experiencing everyday gratitude for everyday wonders often falls by the wayside in the flow of everyday life.  Delights and comforts are enjoyed but unnoticed, sampled but not shared, and entirely taken for granted, day after day.

This morning I am taking a different approach and enjoying my morning, even the everyday bits, with eyes wide, and immersed in the wonders of modern comforts and luxuries as though they are new. Taking notice, experiencing appreciation and gratitude, and slowing down the clock. I am contrasting my relatively luxurious experience now, with other times, other experiences; my life hasn’t always been one of everyday comfort, or everyday luxury.

I started the morning with a cup of tea, rather than a latte. I measured out the tea itself, loose, enjoying the fragrance of the dried leaves, and bits of lemongrass and dried citrus. Smiling at the recollection of the day I bought the tea, and the conversation with the gentleman minding the shop, I boiled water, first warming my cup, then preparing the tea. I watched the clock for four minutes, contemplating the clock itself, and the incredible step forward measuring time meant for humanity, and the simple convenience of having a timepiece in the kitchen.  The morning conversation as one partner headed for sleep after a night out, and another prepared for the work day, was cordial and practical.

Soon enough the house was quiet. A light breakfast presented a nice opportunity to consider the conveniences of store-bought bread, cured meat, and artisan cheese. The advances of humankind from its dawn to its present day are considerable, and many of my favorites are every day experiences: stores, bread, preserved foods like cured meats, jams, pickles, dried fruit. These aren’t even new things, but each individually represents some human being at some prior moment taking a step forward and making life better for every one of us in some fashion, if we have access to that product or service or experience.

I made another cup of tea, treasuring my experience of choice.  I have options – even with a simple cup of tea. Green or black? Sweetened? With cream? Iced or hot? Dainty porcelain cup with a history, or a robust mug chosen at a discount store because the words delighted me? My everyday life is even filled with choices of this sort. Options.

I spent time meditating, unmeasured time. The luxury of being able to capture, and measure time is pretty amazing, and we build a lot of our world on it, with the result sometimes being that it feels like time is in very short supply.  I am finding that when I also indulge the luxury of not measuring time, of not limiting it, time seems to slow down, to become more plentiful. The clock advised me after-the-fact that I had spent 37 minutes meditating. It felt like ‘just the right amount of time’, however it was measured.

I enjoyed my yoga practice on a different level. This too, I slowed down. Each pose its own moment, its own experience, and bringing as much mindful attention to the feel of it, to my breathing, to my balance, as I comfortably could. Stopping to review details on a new posture now and then, and enjoying the luxury of comfort and quiet. Calm. Content. Strong. Centered. These are not words I have had many opportunities to apply to my own experience, over the course of a turbulent life. I enjoy each moment awake and aware.

Now I chill and, feet up and my cup of tea near at hand, I write a few words. I observe. I feel. I consider. I find myself taking a moment of gratitude and appreciation for the friends and family that nurture me, and enrich my experience.

Gratitude feels lovely every precious day – and every day is precious.  Today I am practicing gratitude. Thanksgiving is coming; it’s always good to practice what we want to be good at. 😀

Practicing gratitude is like photographing mushrooms at dawn. I took scores of pictures of them, and although only one picture celebrates the experience, every picture I took was an experience worth having.

Practicing gratitude is like photographing mushrooms at dawn. I took scores of pictures of them, and although only one picture celebrates the experience, every picture I took was an experience worth having.