Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! :) Today I choose gratitude. Isn't that the theme of the day? Oh I am sure there are so many emotions running through us all today? Why? Because we each have our story. We are each unique amazing beings that have a story that makes us who we are. Because of our story and life experiences, today might be filled with a variety of emotions. There are those that have experienced deep loss and are longing for the loved ones that are no longer with us and there are those that are lonely and just want someone to love and share this holiday with. I am sure there are others that do not feel the freedom that we celebrate in our country and are simply in a place of confusion, sadness and more in the recent happenings of our political and social world. There are some that got stuck in weather, unable to make it home and others that physically or mentally are suffering and hurting in so many ways. Whatever your challenges are this holiday season let me start by saying, I honor you. I honor each and every one of you that might have a part in your heart and body that is challenged or hurting.
Often times we are so focused on gratitude we forget to honor the part of us that is hurting or challenged. So let's do that for a moment. Take a moment and honor all of you, give thanks to those times of suffering because they are here to make us stronger and to shape us. It actually makes me think of something Rod Stryker shared in our last training together. In discussing one of the books we were studying he explained "self effort is God." That is what the book were were studying and yoga tradition was talking about. This hit home with me and was something that stuck. When we suffer because of things we are dealing with internally or externally, the human condition doesn't like that feeling and thus we strive to feel better. Usually this translates to our own self effort of fighting back from a pain or loss so deep and to rise above.
This battle to keep going on the hard days is absolutely self effort. How cool to think about this self effort as God? And for some you may not use the word God, replace it with something that works for you: universe, spirit, divinity, etc. The point is this, we all have our battles and challenges and they are here to teach us in a way that sometimes we don't even know as we are going through them. But I can guarantee that you are stronger than you think. In fact, a lot of my fears in life are because I don't think I will ever get through x, y, or z. And then I look around me and see the battles that people are facing and fighting and those who are battling don't give up, they keep going and show up in life. I have chills thinking about it. Somehow we all come together and keep on going and that is flippin amazing!
So why in the world am I talking about suffering on this day of thanks? I think because I know that while it is SO important to focus on gratitude and that truly is the way to happiness in our journeys of life I also know that I have suffered and felt physical, emotional and mental pain (on Thanksgiving) in addition to my experience of an abundance of joy, love and happiness. And to ignore that both happen to me seems wrong. In fact, I was inspired to write this on this Thanksgiving morning because I am physically hurting today. I woke up to my hands being numb and the pain in my joints great. My skin and stomach issues are inflamed and I don't feel awesome. Something is off for me physically and I clearly have more healing to do. Additionally we slept in a hotel last night and I don't think I slept the best. However, as I woke up to this morning I realized that I must honor the challenges and pain that I have experienced and am experiencing today, but I also have the power to create the day that I want and so need.
For me Thanksgiving has been both an awesome day but also a day that has challenged me in subtle ways that have, in the past, taken away from the joy and gratitude of life, and in particular this day of giving and experiencing thanks. For me my suffering is two-fold: my body can hurt and challenge my physically (as mentioned above) and my emotional and mental body as well. As I have discussed before, my internal suffering and struggles have a lot to do with food and body-image issues. These are deeply rooted in things that I can get into more in another time, but today I cannot help but think of how some Thanksgivings were pretty challenging for me. Some Thanksgivings I felt like I did it all right and I survived and others I felt like I couldn't wait for the day to be over because the focus of food was just too much. And I know that on those past Thanksgiving days the focus of my worries (food, exercise and health) diluted my ability to enjoy what I had on that day. And that goes for any other day of my life. When I am so focused on this internal battle with food, body, or anything that doesn't seem to be going my way, I miss the joy of life that is sitting right in front of me. And that, my friends is why I bring this up.
So today I woke up and after sharing my physical pain that my body is experiencing today with my husband I looked at him and said, "I know that I am hurting, but I am determined to be and feel gratitude today because I am so lucky and so grateful to be sharing this day with you and our family!" The point in saying that was me honoring that perhaps my physical and mental body may still have some healing to do, but more importantly that I have the power to choose the kind of Thanksgiving I have and the day after that and the day after that.
So today, how will I shape the day that I want? With intention and being very clear with what I want: Today I fill my mind, body and spirit up with gratitude so that I can feel every ounce of how lucky I am to live and love so hard that I feel my true essence, I see vitality, innocence and pure joy in my kids. Today I am an example to them of living my gratitude. I know I can make this happen even more if I make my list of what I am grateful for and why. So here is my list on this Thanksgiving day:
Here is my Thanksgiving 2016 gratitude....
- I am so very grateful for my healthy family because they give me back so much love and joy in my heart. Thank you thank you thank you!
- I am so very grateful for essential oils because they have helped me a lot this week as I have not felt the best. Thank you thank you thank you!
- I am so very grateful for the best parents a girl could ask for because they taught me to be who I am, to believe in myself and life and to love big. Thank you thank you thank you!
- I am so very grateful for my husband and best friend because he is my rock and teaches me so much in life. Thank you thank you thank you!
- I am so very grateful for my yoga practice because it reminds me of my true essence and teaches me to be the very best me that I can be. Thank you thank you thank you!
- I am so very grateful for coffee because, well, I have been depending on it a bit these last few months and it tastes so good, especially my fancy Nespresso machine that is at home and I maybe missing a bit today. :) Thank you thank you thank you!
- I am so very grateful for my friends because they remind me to play and love and they will always be there for me. Thank you thank you thank you!
- I am so very grateful for my siblings because they are amazing humans and I have so much fun with I am with them. Thank you thank you thank you!
- I am so very grateful for other humans and their unique stories, including the joy and the suffering, because watching others live and love inspires me to do the same. Thank you thank you thank you!
- I am so very grateful for my health and all the resources to support me because I wouldn't be on this healing journey without their knowledge, and support. Thank you thank you thank you!
- I am so very grateful for the creativity and simply joys that my kids show me each day because I am reminded that it is the little things and the present moment that matter most. Thank you thank you thank you!
- I am so very grateful for my body and its ability to move and play and touch because it is pretty incredible all that it can do. I am especially grateful for my workout this morning and the reminder of the strength I carry each day. Thank you thank you thank you!
- I am so very grateful for the veggies (see pic above) I made yesterday because I know that eating veggies too will make everything feel better and bonus, if it is yummy I might have a new recipe to share! Thank you Thank you thank you!
- I am so very thankful that we had a safe drive yesterday, but more importantly we survived a very crabby and needy three-year old. Thank you thank you thank you! (note: see pic below of my sweetheart and I surviving each moment). :)
- I am so very grateful that I have the opportunity to write and share because it simple feels so good for my soul and for that I am so very grateful. Thank you thank you thank you thank you!
- I am so very grateful for another day because each day is a gift and I am determined to create joy, love and truly live my gratitude because I am so very blessed and lucky. Thank you thank you thank you!!!
Now it is your turn. What is your intention for the day? What do you need to honor that might be hurting and what can you bring into your day that creates joy and happiness? Can you take a moment and list what you are grateful for and why? Feel the feelings in all of you as you feel this gratitude and notice how it lifts you up. Last weekend I did this little exercise when my son stepped on my homemade vegan pumpkin pie and it actually made me enjoy my day even more.
I wish you nothing but an amazing day filled with love, joy and gratitude and present moment, whatever that means to you on this 2016 Thanksgiving day.
In love, light and gratitude,