Thanksgiving is this week and it officially kicks off the holiday season. A holiday that is symbolized by expressing gratitude and being thankful, Thanksgiving has become a bit more about the stress of preparing a meal, chaotic travel plans, and planning for the next big things--Black Friday, Christmas, and all the big events in between.
As with any holiday, the stress of the main event can certainly take away from the joy and meaning behind the day itself. To me, Thanksgiving is about connecting to loved ones and being together more than anything else. It is about being present, even in the chaos, with those you are surrounded by and sharing in those little moments that can mean much more than the memory of "I came, I saw, I ate turkey."
You see, I am a proponent of the little moments. The beautiful down time between the major events that are milestones in our lives. Don't get me wrong, those big events are great for their own reasons. Often times the little moments get lost and left behind, especially when we are just thinking about what is to come. Life is a series of little moments bookended by the big ones. Let's strive to be more connected to the small things!
- Slow down. Before you know it, you will blink and it will be New Year's Day already. Instead of life passing us by, we can literally slow time by diving into those everyday, mundane, small moments that create our lives. Embrace the in-between moments by taking time to appreciate and notice them. When you notice yourself thinking about "what's next" instead take a breath and bring yourself back to where you stand in that moment. Listen, connect, and be present in the moment.
- Connect to what is important. At the end of the day, it may not be as important to get a perfectly planned and timed out meal on the table than it is to have a conversation with those at the table. It may be more important that you spend time with friends for this holiday than family. It may be more important to you to share Thanksgiving serving others in a volunteering or helping aspect than it is to do something traditional. Whatever is important to you, connect to what that is and act on it.
- Embrace togetherness. I encourage you to see how we are all connected to one another. Actively practicing this and reminding myself of the connection we have to one another helps me interact with my people in a more kind and loving way. Now more than ever, we need this togetherness. Even if views and beliefs differ, when we tap into the underlying connection we all share, we can love in exponentially larger ways. Revel in the simple commonalities versus focusing on the major differences. By having a better understanding of this connection, we may not feel such a divide in the face of differences.
This Thanksgiving, I encourage you to savor the moments just as much as the meal. Be together and be kind. Kindness costs nothing and is always a choice we can make. As a bonus, consider doing something different on Black Friday like #optoutside, a campaign that aims people to continue a tradition of togetherness by being together outdoors the day after Thanksgiving. Check out ways you can create a new tradition here.