Archives for posts with tag: thanksgiving

What a difference it makes to get a good night’s sleep. How different from each other can two mornings be? I am making a point of savoring my mood and my experience of morning, this morning, because it is mild, pleasant, quietly joyful, and a total departure from yesterday’s crossness and irritability. I lived a great many years thinking every moment of my life was misery, and finding out that some portion of that was entirely a matter of perspective (and choice) wasn’t just an eye-opener, not merely a good-to-know insight, but wholly useful. I also now know to take time to savor, appreciate, and linger in these lovely quiet moments, and to allow them to become memorable.

(If the only emotional experiences you linger over, invest in, dredge up for later discussion again and again, are the painful and unpleasant ones, the whole of life eventually may feel painful and unpleasant; we become what we practice.)

I find, as with breathing, a hidden gem of a practice within the simplest experiences of pleasure, contentment, and joy – simply that of taking time to experience them fully, to linger over them in my recollection, to “share the story” (however silly it may seem to say aloud “I am having such a nice morning!” to someone else). Allowing our quiet moments of joy and our incidental experiences of pleasant living to become memories, by investing our time and attention in them, ensures that our implicit memory of life in general doesn’t become wholly negative, and instead, supports a steady sense of self, over time, that feels generally quite positive. That’s what I did to become “a positive person” by the way; I took the slow route through practicing “taking in the good” and over time shifted my implicit memory in a more positive direction. Incremental change over time is a thing that happens; we become what we practice.

…Think that over, though, “we become what we practice” – that’s all of it. Everything we practice routinely becomes part of who we “are”. Over time, anything we practice regularly, whether we like it or not about ourselves, becomes who we are. Good and bad.  Choose wisely. 🙂

Thanksgiving is almost here. There was a momentary thought in the background, something like “Oh no – what if I forget the ____?!”, and then I grinned at myself as it slipped away. I’m not especially spontaneous, as people go, but I am adaptable AF. lol I have options. Life’s menu is vast. This matter of living it is not like riding a train; it isn’t on rails, I have choices, plans change with circumstances. Missing ingredients become opportunities to explore new recipes, that’s all. It seems doubtful that anything could really “go wrong” with the holiday weekend ahead. I will cook a holiday meal, it will involve food – tasty and nourishing – and the excellent company of my Traveling Partner. We’ll hang out and enjoy each other for a couple days. Perfect! lol Sufficiency for the win. 🙂

Toward the end of the long weekend, after my partner has departed, I’ll get started on putting up the holiday tree. 😀

Quite a few folks in my network, and community, find Thanksgiving somewhat distasteful, these days, and there is little talk of pilgrims. I find there is definitely room on my calendar for a repurposed harvest season holiday build around a feast, and a feeling of gratitude and community, with which to kick off the winter holiday season. I continue to celebrate Thanksgiving as the holiday it is named to be; a celebration of gratitude, appreciation, and simple joys, a good meal shared in good company, and a long weekend with which to prepare for winter. It is also a season for charity, for giving to others, for reaching out and helping those in need, for doing a little more for people who are not me. It seems a wholesome and well-intended holiday, and I cherish it in that spirit, myself.

I wish you well this Thanksgiving – and I hope you have much to be thankful for. If it is hard times, I hope that you find sufficiency and contentment (and prosperity at some point, too). If you have plenty, I hope you share it. If you have little, I hope you enjoy what you have without guilt or shame. I hope we all find a moment that matters, and take a good opportunity to begin again. 🙂

Thanksgiving is already a memory, which seems a shame when I consider how many people seem to save their celebration of plenty and their gratitude for one day on the calendar; there is so much good in life that is plentiful, and so much to be grateful for. I woke this morning, after a restless night, still feeling appreciative, still grateful, still thankful…and…I think I’m also still feeling a bit overfed, actually. The U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving is a celebration of gratitude and plenty taken to excess. The food was exceptional, and having chosen to go out for our holiday meal this year, there was no stress around preparation, serving, or clean up…a lavish meal, an experience of gratitude and plenty, and more time spent on enjoying the company than laboring to create that moment of joy.

I did miss the cooking. I also missed the hours and days of conversation and planning leading up to the meal. Connecting joyously in advance of the holiday to imagine, and plan, and reminisce about other holidays, other meals, other recipes. This holiday was scaled down, and fairly quiet by choice and by popular vote. My enjoyment of planning and anticipation are not universally shared, and this year it was nearly impossible to get a single conversation going about Thanksgiving in advance of the holiday. I enjoyed the holiday outside the kitchen, as an exception and a treat, and it was lovely that there was simply nothing to fuss about, and no stress or frustration. No ‘holiday temper’.

Here it is “Black Friday”.  There will be terrible shopping anecdotes aplenty, and people – a lot of people – will behave as though they’ve never even heard of gratitude, thanks, or compassion. People who were dishing meals to the homeless yesterday may well be queued up outside some retailer today, waiting for the doors to open so they can begin to claw their way angrily through the throng of other shoppers to assuage their greed for goods at a low price. The year-long struggle to thrive erupts on Black Friday into a furor of entitlement leading up to a holiday about giving…revealing some ugly qualities of character among us long enough for some appalling video to reach the internet.  The greed is emblematic of the sickness taking us over. More for less. More goods for less money – regardless what it costs to produce those goods. More results for less effort. More. On Black Friday sufficiency is removed from the American lexicon, for more than a few people.

Gratitude isn’t really about ‘more’, though, is it?

A path, a journey, a moment.

A path, a journey, a moment.

It’ll be a quiet Black Friday for me – I’m taking advantage of some really great deals, today, too. I am off work today, and having that leisure time is an incredible value in additional time to read, to write, to meditate – to enjoy my experience of the day. I’ll take time to meditate at leisure at no cost, free, and if I act now I’ll benefit immediately! Yoga, writing, painting, reading… all at my fingertips, with no more expense than the investment in time and effort – the savings are huge! I’ll likely go for a walk at some point, and enjoy the loveliness of autumn before it becomes winter, and consider the holidays to come as I walk. I may spend some part of the day or weekend preparing for the holidays, it’s true, even being involved in gifts-to-be; I enjoy the inspiring work of hand-making gifts, gifts that are 100% not about money; paintings, clay figures, poetry, books I have loved and want to share, small tokens of great delight and fondness. The gifts I enjoy best – both giving and receiving – are the ones that connect me most closely to people, whatever sort of gifts those turn out to be. A great gift isn’t about what it cost, it’s about what it means.

I’ve spent days wracked with anxiety, but I woke without it this morning. Promising. Today is a good day to journey safely, and be mindful of what matters most. Today is a good day to spend more time than money. Today is a good day to turn away from greed. Today is a good day for gratitude, thankfulness, and perspective. Today is a good day to change the world.

Remember that one Thanksgiving, the hard one, the one with the moods and the tantrums, the stress, the hard work, the tense conversations and everyone trying so hard? Me, too. We probably all do – or something very like it.

Happy Thanksgiving.

I’m thankful to see another one come and go. I’m thankful that generally speaking I don’t have a lingering recollection of the challenges of the holidays, only the fun, the recipes, the wonder.  Yesterday will be one of those Thanksgivings.  Long after all reminders of the difficult moments have faded, I’ll still be remembering the delicious turkey, the flavorful potatoes,  the exceptional cranberry sauce, and the look in a toddler’s eyes trying that flavor for the very first time – wide-eyed wonder and awe, and delight.  Years from now I will still remember with fond gratitude how my partner happily took on serving the pie I made earlier in the day, because I was just too tired to handle that one more task.  I’ll remember how my other partner seemed always at the ready with that extra pair of hands someone needed in the moment.  I’ll remember the quiet beauty of the classical music in the background, and the delicious sweetness of the Ipsus we served with dessert. I’ll remember the tasty pork loin brought over for the meal by a dear friend of many years, and his excellent biscuits. I’ll remember how good everything tasted, and how happy I was with the pie crust I hadn’t planned to make from scratch, but did.  I’ll remember how lovely the table looked, how gracious my partners were, how well-behaved the baby was. I’ll remember the affection and the warmth of the holiday meal.

Happily, and in no small part due to my TBI, I’m probably going to forget about my mood swings, hot flashes, headache, aching knee, arthritis pain, the incredible workload, the pace of the day, and the rather extraordinarily ugly tantrum I had in the morning when my PTSD met me in the corridors of hormone hell after I got an unexpected email from an ex.  (Yep. Still very very human. I checked. O_0 )

Unfortunately, my partners probably won’t have the luxury of forgetting the difficult bits. I’m thankful to be so well loved in spite of that.