Holidays help us focus. In our busy and distracted lives we stop and notice something – mothers, fathers, religious events, new years and a day to be grateful.
It seems ironic that we would have “a” day to be grateful. Science and religion agree that being grateful does amazing things to our bodies, minds, communities and our world. So I ask the question, what if every day were thanksgiving – having a focus on being grateful for whatever it is we see and choose to be grateful for?
So, if every day were a day of thanksgiving,
- How would your relationships, your work and your life be different?
- How would our world and our connections with other countries, cultures and peoples be different?
- How would you look past the disappointments and focus on the blessings?
- How would you inspire others to see and live what is best in them?
We learn from holidays that we need to stop things for a moment to focus on something or someone important. The goal is not to stop, remember, celebrate – then move on. Rather, the stop, remember and celebrate is to change us from the inside out – to create a new awareness that then helps us be more present, more loving and better in our next moments. Holidays are teachers – they help us learn important lessons that are to guide and support us through life. We lose the lesson if we focus on the turkey for Thanksgiving, the presents for Christmas or Chanukah, the candy for Easter, the gifts for Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days. The lesson in each of these relates to an inner value that is important to learn to make our lives better, stronger and happier.
As we look over the gift of food on Thanksgiving, may it help us remember that for all that we have, there are others that don’t – here and across the world. How can we become more compassionate, more generous and kinder?
As we look at our families that sometimes drive us crazy and don’t always agree – how can we see unique individuals all finding their way in our world. How can we be patient, empathetic and supportive?
As we see the manic rush to get into Christmas shopping that encourages us to almost lose Thanksgiving – can we commit to being more fully present in this moment – appreciating it, soaking it up and holding it dearly before we push past it for the next distracting moment? How can we be present, patient and relaxed fully engaged in what we are doing?
Holidays can make us run faster – our big to-do lists of all the things we “need” to do to have a perfect day. They make us run faster until we see that their real message is to actually to get us to slow down, focus on the people and reasons for the holiday, and be really connected to this very moment. What does it give you? What does it teach you? How does it help to add yet one more great thing to your life?
How do you want your holidays to change – to improve – you? Let their message speak to you and carry its lessons forward to every day. If every day were Thanksgiving we would truly live in a kinder, more compassionate and more generous world. Let’s bring that lesson forward.