How Thanksgiving Can Change Your Life
The holiday of Thanksgiving celebrates one of the most important things in life: consciously appreciating and giving thanks for the gifts Nature provides during the time of harvest and sharing this joy with family and other loved ones.
It is easy to forget all the good in our lives in times of hardship and uncertainty such as we are currently experiencing. And it is therefore particularly important to remember the good in our lives. That is why Thanksgiving is especially important this year.
Because despite all the hardship, it is when we appreciate the good in our lives that we find it easier to draw upon our courage and resilience to overcome our challenges. It is when we pause to experience what we have that we find happiness and can rest in a deep sense of lasting joy.
During Thanksgiving dinner we come together with our loved ones in gratitude for all the blessings we receive. A blessing we usually take for granted is Mother Nature.
By contrast, most indigenous cultures traditionally start meals with a ritual of honouring the earth and its blessings by returning some of the food or drink to it, thereby expressing gratitude for what she freely gives to us and recognition of our dependence on her. Only after this ceremony of thanks is the meal shared and enjoyed.
What does Mother Nature give to us? Mother Nature nurtures us. For free. She does not ask for anything in return from us. Only thanks to the sun, water, air, earth and plants, that we can exist. Sun and water allow life on this planet earth to thrive, air and the oxygen produced by plants make it possible for us to live. These conditions also allow for fruits and vegetables to grow and provide us with sustenance (and other animals that we then eat).
And these are only very simple ways in which we are given gifts. If you think about it, there is so much more that plays a role in our delicate eco-system.
The smartphone or computer you are reading this on is a product of the resources Nature has put at our disposal. It is a lot more than that, of course, and we can think about how much has gone into producing it, but it would not be possible for it or us to be without Nature.
And this is only talking about the physical aspects of Nature’s gifts.
On a deeper level, she gives us so much more. Spending time in Nature benefits us on so many levels. Being in Nature has a calming and healing effect on our minds and hearts. Nature gives us a sense of belonging and acceptance. Nature never distinguishes, she doesn’t care what we look like, what we did or did not do. She embraces us all, just as we are.
Becoming aware of these riches is one way of changing our life, as it paves the way for more gratitude and thereby more awareness of what is good in our life. For it is what we focus on that has the most weight in our mind.
Appreciation and giving thanks has the transformative power of changing the way we feel, the way we see life, the way we live in the world. We just need to (re)focus our attention, let it grow and observe the fruits ripening.
Take this Thanksgiving to create a new tradition of Giving Thanks and sharing the gratitude not only with your loved ones – no matter where they are – but with Mother Nature as well. Write down around three things you are grateful for and experience feelings it gives rise to. Do it every day until Christmas and you will notice a shift in your world as you discover more things to appreciate and give thanks for.