Although we all have an internal wisdom, few of us are prophets. We don’t always dream of what lies ahead, and we often don’t follow the dreams and destinies that present themselves. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a day when many of us gather with family and friends and feel grateful. Grateful for our capacity to truly know, just like Joseph and Tamar, our uniqueness and specialness and the same truth for everyone else in the world and in our lives. And what if it wasn’t just one day? What if we did not wait for one holiday a year to give thanks for the bounty of our lives? What if we arose each morning with gratitude, five seconds of appreciation for the goodness in our lives? Just ponder this for a moment. Take a deep breath. What does it feel like, in your body, to absorb those few seconds of conscious stillness absorbing appreciation? How would incorporating that gratitude help us to meet the day’s challenges?
Gratitude does not come only in silence in the still of the morning. It can also come in the manic-ness of drumsticks, pumpkin pie, the sweet memories of grandma. It is these times together, maybe on Thanksgiving, seeing your familiar faces and catching up on the stories of our lives, that we re-connect, re-acquaint, and re-focus our lives to what is true.
Martin Buber said, “When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.” That is probably why Thanksgiving is so packed with energy – so many people coming together, the energy is palpable.
Practice Instructions around the Thanksgiving Table:
a) Offer everyone and opportunity to explore being settled and comfortable in their seats – feel the weight of your body settle into the chair, back upright – stretching upward, shoulders relaxed and hands resting comfortably on your lap. Close or rest eyes for a few breaths.
b) After a few breaths invite everyone to open their eyes, and without speaking, just look around the table. Take a few seconds to really look at everyone around the table, making eye contact, seeing them.
c) Go around the table, each person saying one thing for which they are grateful.
d) Together, concluding this short exercise by feeling and stating a collective gratitude and appreciation for coming together, maybe from far and wide, for those who prepared and organized and hosted this meal of Thanksgiving.
e) Happy Thanksgiving (don’t forget to fire up some apple cider).