As shorter days and velvety dark nights beckon forth November’s chilly sweetness, we start to anticipate the arrival of Thanksgiving.
Our mouths water at the thought of tasty turkey, tart cranberry sauce and too-delicious pie. Our hearts tingle, eyes stinging a bit at the warm thought of seeing friends and family.
But, for many of us, the enjoyment doesn’t happen.
Rather than a day off, it’s a day stressful and exhausting day on.
And, instead of truly tingling, our hearts go on auto-pilot, making sure we check off everything on our to-do lists. We become consumed and distracted with endless tasks.
Yeah, I’m guilty too.
Ironic, isn’t it?
We say we’re going to be mindful.
We say we’re going to think long and hard about what we’re grateful for.
But, we don’t.
We don’t actually put our hearts or minds or souls into it at all.
Are our words empty?
‘Cause look, there we are, in the grocery store, heart pounding, fighting and yelling to get a perfect turkey.
‘Cause look, there we are, trying to find a perfect platter and candles and flowers that will make our homes look elegant, yet understated.
‘Cause look, there we are, drinking a whole bottle of wine, stressing out about who we don’t want to see at that fateful holiday table.
It’s not that these things are wrong.
It’s that we lie to ourselves.
It’s that we put all this energy into making sure the day is beautiful and enjoyable—then we’re too burnt out to actually enjoy it.
Why, why, why?
We have a choice.
We can have a simple day.
We can create any type of holiday we want.
We have a choice.
We can show up.
‘Cause sure, we might have to bring mashed potatoes, but let’s make sure we bring ourselves along, too.
We can leave the stress and falsity behind to make this holiday into a holy day—rather than a holy-crap-I-hate-this kind of day.
Let’s simplify and let the day unfold, being aware of each moment.
Let’s let go of the notion that it all needs to be perfect.
Let’s give our hearts a break from the bustling busyness.
Let’s stop and make sure that we’re breathing.
Let’s close our eyes, open our hearts, and show the f*ck up.
It is from this place that we can feel true gratitude.
It is from this place that we can give thanks in a real way.
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Author: Sarah Harvey
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: elephant archives