Challenges and Gratitude on Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving (or holiday's in general) can be complicated. Thanksgiving in particular because it represents the stealing of lands from native people (someone please explain to me how the anniversary of stealing became a holiday?). Then add the layer that it’s a mass slaughtering of animals and while i’m not vegan nor am I vegetarian I can’t say that it sit’s right with me from an ethical or environmental standpoint (keep in mind I will be eating my moms turkey this afternoon; there are some battles I’m not willing to fight today). That brings me to how difficult holidays can be with interpersonal family dramas that pop up no matter how much you love them. If your holiday is not picture perfect like it is in the movies know that you're not alone. We all have some sort of thing going on. Things are not quite what they seem to be from the outside.

Sometimes I wish I had a normal family that got along all the time, but that’s not real. I’m sure if I asked you to show me a family where that was real you’d be hard pressed to show me one. Today, on this Holiday with it’s deep seeded traditions that are complex and often heinously wrong I have to recenter, over and over and over again. It’s like meditation when my mind wanders every other second and what I have to do is continuously with self-compassion keep coming back to the breath every time I realize I’ve wandered. Today I have to allow lots of grace for myself and my family and do my best to remember that we all have our own baggage, our own buttons and painful scars and we are all trying our best. What I personally want most today is to feel deep gratitude when I can. I can't control that Thanksgiving actually represents something I'm not sure I want to be a part of. I can't always control family arguments and dramas but I can try to recenter after the fight. I can try to say I'm sorry for my part in the pain, and I can feel gratitude for what I have and these family members I love, but who often push my buttons. I’ll use my meditation practice today as a tool. I’ll try to be kind in the argument and after the argument (because let’s be real not only will there be arguments there has already been an argument today).

Today honestly is going to be a challenge for me personally. I normally don't spend Thanksgiving with family (even though I love them) often it's easier for me to love them from afar. My family includes arguments, drama, and the grit of life and often when with family I feel like I’m the very worst version of myself.

In this week's Wise Women podcast Dawn Chaney wisely said "our greatest barriers, are our greatest opportunities for growth". Holidays and family time for me is my greatest barrier and my greatest opportunity for growth as a human, I'm certain. It this barrier doesn't feel good, I'm sure barriers rarely do. But if I don't try to scale this barrier, if I dont make the effort that would be the failure.

My first deep pause for gratitude now is a feeling of gratitude for the challenges I’ll face today with family because I’m grateful I have such a wonderful family to fight with. My wish for you today is a wish for challenges. I wish you will have challenges that will bring you your biggest opportunity for growth and I wish that you will also see them as something to be grateful for.