Our guest poster today is my dear friend Mary McManus, creator of beautiful poetry and kind thoughts. Mary is always an inspiration. Thank you, Mary!
To keep the giving thanks in Thanksgiving this year, I came to the conclusion that every day is Thanksgiving. Holidays were always a very painful time in my life growing up. Alcoholism cast a long dark shadow over every day. Holidays meant more time being around family dysfunction.
My best friend came from a tightly knit Italian family and she would boast about the family traditions of making all the traditional Italian dishes. I had an us vs. them concept of the holidays. I was miserable while everyone else was joyful being with their beautiful, perfect families. Of course nothing could be further from the truth.
As I got older and had my own family, there was often an ache that there was no extended family with whom to share holidays. Slowly – very slowly – I learned that wanting what I did not have caused me a great deal of suffering. And so I shifted my focus to appreciation. Eventually, my heart healed through the power of forgiveness and a gratitude practice allowing me to experience the joys of the holidays.
This year I have so much to be grateful for. I am feeling healthier than I ever have in my life despite being 58 and ‘having’ the diagnosis of a progressive neurological disease, post polio syndrome. Although my husband and I are empty nesters, our relationship has grown closer together and we have interests we share and interests we pursue as individuals. I am surrounded with beautiful friends.
There have been tragic losses and other family crises which arose in this past year but it all depends on perspective and what we choose to focus on. We tend to build up expectations about what Thanksgiving and the holiday season should be or look like. Instead of having emotions build in anticipation of the ‘big day’, allow yourself to take time every day to have a practice of gratitude and focus on the blessings in your life. November 24th is just another day on the calendar but when you accentuate the positive every day is Thanksgiving.
Make every day a feast of giving thanks
serving up heaping helpings of happiness, health and joy.
Be with the ones you love
and feel your heart overflow
because there is so much gratitude stuffed inside.
Feast your eyes on the beauty and wonder that surrounds
Feed your heart on kindness and compassion
Forgive and remember love lasts
Taste the sweetness that life has to offer
as the scents of the season
delight the senses.
From my heart to yours