Happy Thanksgiving. It seems like in a blink of an eye we set New Year's intentions together and we are now recovering from post-election stress. Are you traveling for Thanksgiving this week? I have had many clients in clinic and friends calling to ask me how to avoid conflict this year at holiday gatherings. My answer may sound simple, but it is powerful:
Being mindful at Thanksgiving
With Thanksgiving holiday around the corner, doesn't it feel like we all just up-leveled our busy levels up a few notches? I don't know about you, but my clients and I are still recovering from post-election stress, anxiety, and fear in a very divided United States. Thanksgiving holiday means that many of us have to face family members that may have opposing social, political, or religious viewpoints.
We all that one family member or friend without a filter for their intrusive questions.
"Why haven't you found someone to marry yet?"
"Did you find a job yet?"
I firmly believe that experiencing peace is a choice that we are fully in control of this holiday season. It is not always an easy choice, but the key to remember is that the choice is ours and ours alone.
We can also choose peace in our relationships by showing compassion. Does this seem like a more daunting task than navigating security lines at the airport? My intention is that we all become mindful of choosing peace in our minds and relationships this Thanksgiving weekend.
You are responsible for the energy you bring
In order to have a peaceful, calm and happy Thanksgiving, we have to center ourselves first. My suggestion is to connect to your own inner peace first
1. Schedule extra self-love/self-care time.
We tend to deprive ourselves of quiet time and sleep because of all of the chores, tasks, and events surrounding the holidays. How can we share holiday joy if we are running on fumes?
2. Schedule sleep or sleep in once a week.
Sleep is not a luxury but a necessity for a peace of mind. When we are sleep deprived, we are more likely to allow people to push our buttons and eat an extra 300-500 calories.
3. Calming meditation:
Serve peace at your dinner table
How can we choose peace at our Thanksgiving gathering?
You are responsible for the energy you bring into the room. The other person is responsible for their own energy, words, and actions. We choose whether to engage with someone or set loving boundaries. You choose, no one else.
Create a mindful practice at the dinner table
Start by sitting at the Thanksgiving table and take a few deep breaths.
Then take a moment to look around and soak in the sights and aroma of the food.
Be present with the abundance in front of you.
Bring peace to our relationships on Thanksgiving
Choosing Peace in Our Relationships
How do we get around talking to someone who has opposing political beliefs or someone that is asking us uncomfortable questions?
Take time to pause and see the person as another human in need of love and compassion. Really, I am not trying to get all holier-than-thou on you, but we can choose to disengage from conversation.
When sitting with family members, take a moment to reflect on the core of the relationships. Connect to why you are grateful for the person in your life and focus on those positive memories (even if they are distant memories).
Make deeper connections this holiday season. Remember the friend who is alone, single, recently widowed or divorced. Call or invite them to join you with holiday tasks.
Read the loving-kindness meditation before entering any family or work-related gathering. If we center ourselves in kindness and compassion, we respond with love instead of negativity.
Let there be peace in our hearts so that we can sit in sincere gratitude for all that we are blessed with this Thanksgiving holiday.
With a prayer of peace and gratitude,