Throughout life, there is one constant- change. We can count on uncertainty, unexpected happenings, and unanticipated highs and lows. It is the ebb and flow of life.
As we come into the holiday season, it is normal to reflect on gratitude, challenges, opportunities, and those we love and cherish.
Thankfulness comes in the forms of all shapes and sizes, and a variety of things great and small.
It’s easy to feel let down or hurt in some fashion. And all too often, when life gives us lemons, we focus on the hardships and forget to practice gratitude for what we have.
Adventures of 2019 created foot imprints on multiple continents and dozens of unexplored paths. Highlights included walking through a lepers village in Kathmandu to hiking towards Nomo Buddha via the wrong path and strolling the forest floor of Western North Carolina, and sitting on a bow of a sailboat in southeast Alaska’s Endicott Arm to name a few.
All of the moments met with awe and wonder, and in particular, a flow of tears. The idea that life would whisper so many thoughts of feeling unworthy, ungrateful, privileged, and fortunate all at once was never anticipated as a young child. Feasting on the goodness of my mom’s homemade rolls, my uncle’s turkey gravy, and of course, pumpkin pie topped with whip cream was is how this holiday consumed me.
While the annual holiday always reminds of thankfulness, years spent sitting around the Thanksgiving table always slightly different. Some spent ill or anticipating surgery recovery, other’s feeling depressed or hopeless, and those filled with love and goodness. The holidays entice nostalgia in so many, and how things used to be or even how we believe things should be.
The journey of 2019 has inspired more gratitude for all the things that did not work out, the hard times, and all the connections intermingled within it all.
When you find yourself kneeling on a dirt floor in Kathmandu to look someone in the eye and greet each other with a smile, it makes you realize just connected we all are. In Nepal, without a single word exchanged, the communication of a smile and laugh implies happiness and gratitude.
What we are each grateful for in life is very different and very similar. While most of my American friends will be sitting around a table with loved ones sharing a meal this year, there will be friends near and far struggling, searching for answers, or feeling a little off.
This Thanksgiving may we take a moment to embrace a smile, give a smile, and choose to connect to those we love and cherish, as well as to nature. May we fill our cup with nourishment, and not just that extra helping of stuffing or mashed potatoes.
May we take a moment to feel joy and fortunate to have all the little things that mean so much. I encourage you to make a list of the things that mean so much to you- not things monetary or food, but the moments, experiences, and the people.
2019 List of Gratitude
- Dinner preparation and conversation in the kitchen, together with the ones I love. R, E, S – Thank you.
- The outdoors.
- The trees outside our home.
- Stargazing from the deck each night.
- My loved ones.
- Our dogs.
- Unconditional love.
Being fortunate is not about privilege. Most consider fortune to be money, fame, or something external, however, may you choose to see fortune in the small things. True wealth is in our resources, our connection, and our wellness.
This Thanksgiving may you find fortune and give thanks by sharing a smile, laughter, and embracing nature around you.