Thanksgiving is around the corner and many of us grew up singing Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go. The song conjures up images of a cozy house sitting in a woodland glen, blanketed in snow, while inside there is a roaring fire and a bountiful table laden with turkey, sweet potatoes, and certainly pumpkin pie.
That was never my Thanksgiving experience and probably not yours either. Yet the images evoked by the song (and traditional media) are so strong we may be tempted to compare our actual experience with this idealized one. When the images of carefree families singing, eating and celebrating in harmony on television don’t look or feel like your family, it’s easy to see ourselves as less than. Less happy, less abundant, less harmonious.
Envy and regret are very draining for your energy. Envy is actually considered one of the seven deadly sins! When we focus on what others have, and what we don’t, we cheat ourselves out of the gratitude for all the things we do have. It’s a form of stealing from yourself – I guess that’s why it’s a sin.
Regret is a sadness about something that happened or didn’t happen in the past. And what can we do about the past? Nothing. So putting our attention there won’t change anything in the present.
A better choice is to ask: What is good in this moment? There is a blue sky overhead, or a cardinal on the bush, or I get to take off the Friday after Thanksgiving! (I’m assuming that if you can read this blog on a computer, you are not destitute.)
For this week, I challenge you to write at least three things everyday that you are grateful for between now and New Years. I’ll be checking back in with you and doing it myself!
Until next Tuesday