Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for me, although I don’t celebrate much ‘pilgrim vs indigenous people’ stuff. ¬†For me, this is a holiday about feasting, gratitude, hospitality, welcoming, and acceptance. Today I’ll cook a fairly lavish meal compared to the day-to-day, as is traditional for so many. It’s a rare year that I don’t have a handful of others invited to join me for the holiday meal, and today the celebration is not dependent on a guest list at all. It’s still a holiday, still about gratitude, and still about being welcoming and thankful – and I care share all those things with the woman in the mirror, too. There have been far too many times I didn’t appreciate her, or even welcome her in her own experience. This is a year to celebrate how much I value the part I play, myself, in my experience, in my choices, and in my opportunities. It’s a year to be thankful, appreciative, and welcoming – of myself.

I begin the holiday season reflecting on gratitude, and good fortune.

I begin the holiday season reflecting on gratitude, and good fortune.

I am sipping my coffee, enjoying the slow encroachment of sunshine on carpet near the patio door, and planning the day’s cooking; small kitchen, small spaces, one oven, no microwave… I’ve had it far worse. Here all the burners work, I have a functioning dishwasher, and every surface is sparkling clean and available for food prep. I am grateful for my tiny kitchen, and all of its convenience – including the pantry almost as large as the kitchen itself, and having everything I’ll need within easy reach. I will happily spend the next hour or two making final recipe choices, smiling over the memories that surface with each recipe card, cookbook, or saved article from some ancient newspaper or magazine, handed down woman to woman over generations. I am grateful for the recollection of so many wonderful home-cooked meals over the years. I am grateful for this smile.

Planning the day has become organizing the cooking, and soon all the planning and organizing will become action – there will be verbs involved, and practices practiced. Safety with knives. Food-safe preparation, and clean-as-I-go practices. Proper food storage practices. Kindness and compassion will be practiced today, too. There’s not likely to be any drama on this holiday – but I could make choices that leave me feeling run down, blue, and angst-y later in the day. Being kind to myself, and compassionate with myself as a human being worthy of consideration and love will make just as much as much sense for me, solo, as it would for me entertaining a crowd. I will take time to treat myself well. I will pace myself, today, and remember that enjoying the day, the meal, and the moment, is the point – not¬†the success of any one dish or the timing with which the meal is served. There’s nothing to be stressed about; this is a holiday about appreciation, sufficiency, and thanks – it’s not a competition, and there are no winners besides the people who put down their stress and agita and simply enjoy the day, present in the moment, and grateful for all that they have.

Facing the approach of winter, I feel fortunate in my cozy home.

Facing the approach of winter, I feel fortunate in my cozy home.

Today I take time to give thanks – I have more than enough.