The mantra, don’t sweat the big stuff, might be one to take to heart, especially this Thanksgiving. Remember the scene in the movie adaptation of the book, “Eat, Pray, Love” when it was discovered the turkey was not only not done, it wasn’t even thawed? A Thanksgiving nightmare! But, hey, don’t sweat the big stuff! Right? Unphased by what the majority of us would consider a catastrophe, the characters laughed (I suspect many of us would cry) and with good humor, joy and gratitude, sat down and feasted on the wonderful side dishes. P.S the turkey was eaten for breakfast the next morning!
The varied responses to our divisive 2016 post-election results suggest another type of Thanksgiving nightmare – conflicting political views! Under normal circumstances, Thanksgiving gatherings traditionally bring their own set of stressors; this year suggests a potential for increased rancor. But, hey, don’t sweat the big stuff! Right?
Many ask how is that possible? Perhaps it is worth taking a step back to try for a little perspective. First, consider why many of us celebrate the Thanksgiving tradition? I like to think at some point during cooking, eating and watching football, we use this day to take at least a moment to reflect on our many blessings.
Second, we love the foods we traditionally associate with Thanksgiving. Food is a powerful source of Chi (energy), fueling and nourishing us physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Feng Shui belief reminds us the energy in the kitchen strongly influences the food that is being prepared. If the Chi of the kitchen becomes unbalanced because the cook is tired, stressed or upset, then everyone at the table will ingest that adverse energy. It’s not difficult to imagine what would happen to the Chi of the dining room should any family member or friend make the unfortunate decision to air their differing personal political views at the table. It’s a sure set up for bringing a pall of negative energy over the entire occasion. Being respectful allows everyone to enjoy these traditional dishes.
Third, and most important, consider how our lives have all been touched, to a greater or lesser degree, by personal events of 2016. There are those of us who have experienced the loss of a spouse or a parent; those who have joyfully welcomed the birth of a child or grandchild; a new reality has set in for some as a terminal illness makes for a last Thanksgiving; others are in recovery from cancer or surgery; loved ones may not be joining us because they’ve relocated; others will welcome a new family member to their table. We never know from one Thanksgiving to the next what life will bring.
Can we afford, for even a moment, to alienate friends or family members? Can we, instead, be thankful for and respectful of our differences, and celebrate our connections? Knowing the holidays can bring extraordinary pressures, can we consciously try for patience, and above all, a sense of humor?
After all, life is too short to sweat the big stuff!
I am thankful for life’s abundance, our connection to the earth, and to one another. This is an auspicious time to gather with those we hold dear, set aside our differences and practice harvesting love. Let us lovingly remember those who are no longer with us and hold very dear those who remain. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie