I have always loved Thanksgiving, but not necessarily for the conventional reasons, namely food and family. I do of course love those things, but what I love even more is the collective energy of people feeling thankful – of being encouraged to thoughtfully look at our lives and appreciate all the blessings. I am always grateful. Counting my blessings is one of the greatest lessons my parents instilled in me.
Regardless, I do sometimes (particularly lately) look at the injustices of life and wonder why people have to suffer so much, why cruel people always seem to have the upper hand, and how with all that suffering, injustice and negativity, we are supposed to be happy and celebratory. That is why having a day designated for gratitude is so powerful. Today I am able to fully embrace the gifts in my life, while mine may seem a bit unusual; I hope they will spark something in you that is thankful too.
After a very rough year, I finally feel really loved and respected. The people who have stuck by my side love me for me. There are also people who I only just met this year that I know love and support me more unconditionally than those who I have known for over a decade. The purity and comfort around that is hard to articulate in anything other than tears. I don’t have a large number of genuine friends (Facebook is a liar), but those that I do have are quality relationships that truly want the best for me as I do for them.
Then there is my sweet cat, Gladys. She always tops my lists of blessings. Her unconditional love is the gold standard that I live by. She always knows when I need an extra snuggle, and she literally lets out a happy scream every time I return home. Few people have ever greeted me with such enthusiasm and I cherish that outpouring of love every single day.
Messages from the Universe
I happened upon a variety of old e-mails today, some that were from 10 years ago! When I updated my Hotmail account a few months back these old message just suddenly appeared in my “sent” folder and this morning I finally had time to read them. I of course had little recollection of actually writing them, so it is stunning to read my own words detailing my ongoing struggles with undervaluing myself. The sentiment and challenges resonate deeply, as they could have been written yesterday.
Much of what I stumble upon these days serves as a gentle hand pushing me toward breaking the negative patterns in former friendship and relationships in which I was constantly compromising myself to make others happy (and growing sicker as a result). These reminders of how far I have come in understanding my worth and setting boundaries around my time and energies prevent me from falling back into those patterns. They are a painful gift, but a gift nonetheless.
The messages and signs I have received this year are far too many to recount here, but suffice to say, I will never underestimate the ability to receive the right message when I need it. So long as I remain open to seeing the signs, I will always have guidance available. Incidentally, losing my Dad was incredibly painful, yet my ability to receive messages and gifts from the Universe (God, Spirit, Angels, and Dad too) increased around that time – an unexpected silver lining to loss.
Envision Mel Gibson in Braveheart screaming at the top of his lungs – minus the war paint and sword. While I have never had to battle for my homeland, there are many more subtle ways in which I have become a prisoner of my circumstances. The e-mail messages previously alluded to showed me how common it was for me to spend my time doing what others wanted me to do, or even worse – expected me to do. I am learning to live differently, making choices that feel good to me. Every day I feel closer to being free and living by my own rules and sensibilities. It feels amazing. Even how I am spending this day – alone with Gladys doing all the things I love – reading, crafting, dancing, yoga, eating gluten free stuffing, and writing. There are no desserts to be made, no tables to be set or cleared, no political garbage to endure, and I still get to bask in the love of my family and friends through phone calls, e-mails and Facebook. I had numerous beautiful offers of ways I could spend this holiday – conventional ways that look much more “normal” and seem more fitting for a “happy person.” But, this introvert is indeed happy and healthy. And, it just might be the best holiday yet.
Much love to you and your family! I hope you are spending this day of gratitude doing just what makes you happiest and appreciating all the gifts and blessings in your life. Please feel free to share what unconventional ways you like to celebrate…