Today is Thanksgiving. As I'm pouring cranberry-ginger sauce into a fancy goblet I found at an estate sale and watching my Hobbit-husband cook the turkey, I am feeling gratitude DEEP. I'm talking warm tingles, and effervescent zings of nervous system happy zaps jolting me out of the mundane at unexpected moments all day long! (I'll elaborate on this later).
But it hasn't always been like this.
I grew up in a big close-knit family with a grandmother who set a never-ending table with fine china and crystal, and there always seemed to be a seat for one more stray. We often would go around the table each saying what we were grateful for that year. It was nice. Pleasant. Normal. and, well...very routine. But not earth-shaking or spine-tingling magic gratitude. Not like I'm feeling today. But in order for me to explain why, I need to take you back a bit in time. Grandma died on Christmas Day 2007 (that's another story), and Thanksgivings have never quite been the same since. In 2013, I divorced, and my parents decided to chase the sun to Arizona, and all the cousins had their own families and in-laws to celebrate with. For the next several years, I found myself being the stray at various friends' tables. Until 2016. I was three years post-divorce, post-metamorphosis, post-mass-exodus-of-friendships that comes with divorce. That year, I somehow didn't have any Thanksgiving invites. So, I awkwardly self-invited myself to Thanksgiving dinner with the family of an ex-boyfriend...and yes, AWKWARD is the only way to describe that day. What I learned that day is that the adage is true, you don't really know what you've got until it's gone. Now, Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday. Because I I don't just offer gratitude, I FEEL it. Gratitude zings and zaps and tingles and effervesces its way through every nerve of my body at all the tiny and amazing things I have, and all the crazy-beautiful experiences I have had in the past. So as you read this, if you've gotten this far, I invite you to take a moment to practice gratitude. And I don't mean just listing the things you appreciate in your life. I mean take a moment with each item on your list and really sit with it, feel into it, and pay attention to where it activates energy in your body. As your list grows, the sensations grow, and the nerves get tickled, and the healing hormones get juicing, and that's where the magic happens. Take your gratitude deeper than just your head and thoughts. Move it into your body, and from there into your soul. Breathe it. Breathe it BIG. Let it be evidence of WHO YOU ARE at your core and your depth. To get you started, I'll give you a few examples from my own list.
▪I live with a man I call Hobbit, and he cooked the turkey today. I've never had a romantic partner cook such a labor intensive meal for me. So when I think about this turkey, and the apples and ginger juices he soaked it in, I feel ginger zingers at the back of my tongue and down my throat. If I trace those zingers further, they electrify in both the bottom of my stomach and the pulse of my heart, telling me that this man nourishes and nurtures me with both sustenance and joy.
▪I set the table with my Grandmother's tablecloth and my mother's fine silver. When I feel the fine linen cloth on my fingers, and the weight of the silver in my hand, the softness and elegance send a sense of refinement and quality through my skin, almost like a fine moisturizer. I remember my roots of culture and class, and my grandparents' lifetime value of making everyone they met feel as special and precious as the freshly polished silver. I am that precious. As is everyone I meet.
▪At my feet, my corgi Tosha catches any droppage. The sound of her little toenails dragging across the wood floor is as soothing to me as a lullaby is to a sleepy baby. And when I give her my plate for "pre-cleaning" her snorts and squeals of delight blow up and pop little joy-bubbles under my diaphragm, like tiny little hiccups. And I'm reminded that life is full of tiny little moments of happy.And I am grateful that the main undercurrent of my life right now is joyful bubbly nurturing elegant contentment.
______ I'd love it if you wanted to share with me the gratitudes you experience in this little exercise. Drop me an email.
And if you are having a hard time accessing that deep gratitude, or you are too caught in the chaos of your own healing to feel much of anything that resembles gratitude right now, I know what that's like (circa 2016). I'd be honored to mentor you through whatever this challenge is until find your joy-bubbles again.