ThanksGIVING

Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.
— Theodore Roosevelt
Turkey by Alison Marras

Turkey by Alison Marras

No one loves the dining experience more than me. It just makes me happy. Good food, flowing wine, laughing friends and the atmosphere that makes it all work have made for some of my most beautiful experiences. One would think Thanksgiving – the holiday that revolves around gastronomy – would register at the top of my list of annual jubilees. Nope. Not by a long shot. I’m actually more into Sweetest Day – you know, that made up holiday that just showed up as the ugly stepchild of Valentine’s Day and yet still manages to guilt couples into spending “love” money and to make singles feel generally inadequate.

Seriously, as I sat down to write a seasonal post about Thanksgiving, I thought, “what the hell am I going to write?” We all know about gratitude. We all know it’s good and proper to be thankful for our many blessings. Everyone’s family goes around the feast-laden table, one member at a time, reciting gratitudes before glutiny ensues, right? Nothing new here.

Why do I travel and cook and sweat and cry and bleed (there was an incident involving a knife and a gizzard a few years back…almost took out a thumb)? Is it simply to say thank you? I do that daily anyway. Couldn’t this just be a speed bump on the way to Christmas? I mean gratitude fits right in there with peace on earth and goodwill toward men, right? Couldn’t we treat it like an extension of the larger holiday season rather than it’s own thing (i.e. Thanksgiving is to Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Boxing Day what Akron is to Cleveland)?

I’ve glossed over it long enough. For the last 7 years or so, I’ve been on a mission to live authentically, changing things little by little to hopefully achieve a life that fits me a little better. So it is no surprise that I am probing into Thanksgiving to try to find some meaning, outside of pilgrims and Natives and turkey-hand crafts, that I can really latch onto so it’s real to me.

Give thanks by Simon Maage

Give thanks by Simon Maage

It hit me as I was writing and I think I found something that I can love, folks. We call this holiday Thanksgiving, not simply Thanks, nor do we reference the state of Thankfulness or the latent quality of Gratitude. Thanksgiving is the moniker we’ve collectively chosen and I think the giving is important. It’s an action word. I recently heard gratitude described as a consciousness of prosperity. If that is so, then thanksgiving is the process of acting on that consciousness and that seems to open up a whole host of creative ideas! What do you do when you realize how much you have? How do you give thanks? Thanksgiving also implies process. The “give” kind of continues for a bit. Are you aware as you are of giving thanks? What does it feel like? Is it enjoyable? What are the responses? Thanksgiving also begs the question giving thanks to whom? We may reflect on our place in the universe. We may become aware of and love more deeply those in our lives that incite the very prosperity upon which we are asked to reflect during this holiday. Pondering the question allows us to nurture an atmosphere of connection and togetherness.

Feeling thanks and tangibly expressing those feelings in real time creates a beautiful reciprocal relationship that does not come out of a sense of duty but from the authentic beats of our hearts. The cycle of receiving and giving, giving and receiving continues, now with an awareness that the two are inseparable and each contains the seeds of the other.

Giving a flower by Evan Kirby

Giving a flower by Evan Kirby

Thanksgiving, like other holidays, gives us an opportunity to cultivate the best of our humanity so that we can project it more fully all year. It is indeed a holiday worth celebrating and one for which it is certainly worth picking a fight with our modern, commerce-driven lives. I am moved and inspired, guys. I’m stoked to practice. And the gratitude-driven ideas are dancing in my head like sugar plums…oh wait, like cranberries.

Love in all things,
April Eileen

P.S. Check out our upcoming experience, Holiday Pancakes and Pajamas, for an opportunity to enjoy a bit of holiday magic!