ALL MY RELATIONS won’t be at the dinner table this Thanksgiving; partly because many have “gone on”, “crossed over”, “passed away”, or they live far away, or we’ve lost touch over the years. The same may hold true for your relations. Or, perhaps like many people you never had a family that did “the holiday thing” – Ever. All of the above scenarios can render this time of year difficult and challenging at best. It can be an awkward, uneasy time for anyone who is not rushing around preparing for the traditional Thanksgiving feast or eagerly anticipating holiday time. If this sounds like a melancholy reminder of what to expect on the fourth Thursday of this month stay tuned. For all those who feel the need to take a deep breath to make it through the holiday I’m here to tell you a different story. There is no need to feel sad, out of place or disconnected. On the contrary, I have good news! All my relations and your relations are all around us, be it Thanksgiving Day or any other, and the simple phrase “thank you” brings them together with us.
Thanks-giving or giving thanks creates a bond or strengthens one that already exists, between us and our loved ones, and the universe in general. If you have loved ones that you are missing (for whatever reason) giving thanks for them draws the memory of them close to you. When you thank them directly the memory and experience of them becomes stronger, and they are drawn even closer to you. Whether those you are missing are now in the spirit world or living elsewhere on the planet it doesn’t matter. If you want to be close to them give thanks for them or directly to them. Thanks-giving or giving thanks is the practice of showing gratitude. The importance of gratitude has been extolled in ancient writings as well as modern-day texts. But you don’t have to be a student or a scholar to know that a show of gratitude goes a long way to get what you want. As a consumer, don’t you return time and again to the business where you are welcomed and told “Thank You” when you leave? Ever notice that when you thank someone there is a moment of connectedness? That brief moment of bonding often leads to additional assistance and personal service for you, and all from a simple show of gratitude.
Thanks-giving and giving thanks can also work for the person who may not miss the experience of a traditional Thanksgiving celebration, but who feels out of place and disconnected during the holiday season. This my friends is the good news I have for you:
One of my cultural practices involves saying “all my relations”. When we say this, we are referring to the kinship we have with everything around us. It is the acknowledgement that we are interconnected and related to everything and everyone on the planet, and that we are thankful for what everyone and every being has to offer. For example, before eating a meal we thank the relation (fish, chicken, etc) for the sacrifice of its life which enables us to have a meal. This is true for you also. You are connected to everything and everyone on earth. Offer thanks and show gratitude to the beings you desire to be connected to, and watch how that out of place feeling of disconnect begins to disconnect from you. The more gratitude you show the more positively connected you will feel-and actually be! Now if this whole gratitude thing is new to you, below you will find a few suggestions to get started. It doesn’t take long and it’s not hard to do.
Actually you can take as much or as little time as you need to say “thank you”, either out loud or with your heart and mind. Be still and quiet in order to feel the gratitude within you, which will allow you to sincerely speak it. The first two are relatively painless, suggestions three and four might hurt a little. If all else fails you can use number five as a last resort. Only kidding, you can do this. I am giving thanks for your success right now!
“Thanks” To Give:
1. Saying “Thank You” to Mother Earth, Father Sky, Grandmother Moon, Grandfather Sun shows a deep gratitude for all that we have environmentally. Who knows you may develop a “green thumb”, wash your car without getting rained on, save on nighttime electricity and get a year- round tan. The rewards are endless!
2. Honor the spirits and relations of the ocean i.e. Goddess Yemaya, fish & ocean beings, sea grass, etc. with sincere thanks for our ecosystem and major food source. All of us “foodies” know how important this is. Note: Studies show that even plants respond to the human voice, so “show your love for the seagrass.
3. Make a list of anyone you have neglected to thank for any reason. Don’t get caught up in whether they are accessible or not i.e. nearby or far away, alive or deceased, or just plain done with you. The point is that you honestly admit that you benefited from something they did and that a giving of thanks or a thanks-giving is in order. Next,
4. Make Good on that list! You don’t need to do it in one day, but you really need to do it. Why??? Because it clears your path and makes more room for you to reap the rewards that showing gratitude brings. Really!
5. Say it [Thank You] at least once a month . No stress there!
A traditional American Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Family, friends, loved ones, and others come together to feast and to count their blessings. There are many versions of the first American Thanksgiving, but one thing is for sure-it was a gathering based on gratitude and giving thanks. And, it still is. Unfortunately it is only celebrated one day out of the year. However, fortunately we can give thanks everyday and reap the reward of being connected to those we love, our surroundings, and each other. Happy Thanks-Giving and Happy Turkey Day to All!