Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why Thanksgiving is My Favorite Holiday

This is my favorite time of year. The air is crisp and cool, the leaves are falling fast, and home is a warm, welcome retreat to the changing weather. Even better, it’s Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is, without a doubt, my favorite holiday. As a self-confessed “foodie”, I look forward to the rich culinary history of Thanksgiving and the amazing flavors of the season. Thanksgiving is about real food. You can’t get by this holiday with Twinkies and frozen pizza. No, for Thanksgiving you need real, whole food: turkey, yams, potatoes, corn, pumpkin, and cranberries and all the fixings. Sure, we have to watch out for antibiotics in our turkeys, pesticides in our produce, and BPA in our cans, but unlike Halloween or Valentine’s Day this holiday is not ruled by Hershey’s or Hallmark, or obsessed with the consumerism that seems to plague the Christmas spirit. Instead we celebrate the bounty of the earth and the harvest of our labors or, likely, the labors of our fellow farmers. We gather together with friends and family to feast and to be grateful. We pause to express our gratitude for the gifts and blessings in our lives, no matter how big or how small.

Giving thanks during the holiday season is about the practice of gratitude. More than any other holiday, Thanksgiving offers us a brilliant opportunity to engage in some simple self-enrichment, and not just the fattening kind! Those who subscribe to the Law of Attraction recognize that that a state of sincere gratitude is one of harmony and peace. As you express gratitude for the circumstances of your life, you radiate energy that attracts more abundance. Understanding gratitude means taking stock in your life and sometimes looking at things with a different perspective. Even things that appear challenging or unwanted hold great blessings as they teach you, guide you, and further you along your personal path. (This also applies to people so before you head off to gather with extended family, welcome some gratitude practice into your life and see them in a different light!). Altering your viewpoint and welcoming gratitude seemingly transforms the very people and situations around you. In fact, as Wayne Dyer once said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Psychology research shows that practicing gratitude actually improves overall life happines and can help those with chronic disease to experience less pain. Taking time to appreciate the gifts of the day brings us to living in the moment, living with intention. There are simple ways you can bring a practice of gratitude into your life. Try taking time with your family to say “thank yous” around the dinner table and express what it is that you are thankful for that day. Make a mental list of the small (or not so small things) that you are grateful for – an easy commute to work, a healthy child, a great meal, or a quiet moment. Or keep a gratitude journal and record your thanksgivings. And, of course, take a few extra moments to smell, taste, and feel that delicious pumpkin pie and to appreciate the pleasure it brings you.

Happy holiday!

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