As everyone around me becomes consumed by the upcoming American holiday of Thanksgiving, often overpowered by the excitement of Black Friday shopping immediately afterwards, there is one thought that repeatedly catches my attention: “Wow, is there really only one day every year that we all come together to give thanks?”
Personally, I think the practice of gratitude, or thinking of three new things to be grateful for every morning, has been life changing over the past several years. But I do not want to undermine this beautiful holiday, as any holiday that is dedicated to being thankful for our blessings is a blessing within itself.
However, writing a blog post that is specifically geared towards Thanksgiving is quite problematic in the sense that no amount of words could ever express all that there is to be grateful for in each moment.
Sometimes, especially when one is going through dark times of loss, mental illness, poverty or other difficult life situations, it can be especially challenging to find anything to be grateful for, much less three things every day! And I absolutely understand. But as someone who has come out the other side of rock bottom and landed on the moon, I can attest with confidence, that there is a bright side whether it is visible right now or not.
And in those times of darkness, Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to come out of the comfort of a long and exhausting journey of suffering, into the simple joy of being present and giving thanks for what you do have. Giving thanks does not mean that you no longer have problems or that you should not give your attention to your pain, because that is a very important and necessary part of healing.
What it does mean is that you have acknowledged that life is a journey of dark and light, ups and downs, and that the beauty of being a human being is that you can experience both at the exact same time.
So this Thanksgiving holiday 2019, I give thanks for my ability to feel the depths of sorrow, heartache and darkness, along with the light of freedom, compassion and joy. I give thanks for having such an abundance of blessings that I am unable to list out all the things, people and experiences that I am grateful for.
And most of all, I give endless thanks for the strength and wisdom to remain present as an observer without resistance or judgement, as I finally learn to dive in and ride the waves of the beach of this beautiful life.