Thanksgiving is my personal favorite of all the holidays because it hasn’t been commercialized. It is all about being thankful for the harvest and creating time for meaningful connection with others.

One challenge of Thanksgiving is that there is a lot of pressure to feel thankful. I believe it isn’t actually helpful to be told to feel grateful. This is particularly true for those who have experienced some kind of loss—a loved one, a job, a divorce or a breakup.

Instead I’d like to offer that we give ourselves permission to note all emotions that bubble up as we head towards the Thanksgiving holiday. Rather than forcing ourselves to be grateful, we can notice when we do feel grateful. We can stop, breathe, and bask in these moments. This is how we cultivate gratitude rather than force it.

The truth is that practicing gratitude is not just something we do at Thanksgiving. We can practice each and every day to create a sense of well-being.

Here are 3 ways to create a mindful Thanksgiving:

  1. Be present as you get ready. Put 2 feet on the ground and follow your breath in and out 3 times when:
    • You sit down to make your grocery list.
    • As you’re driving to the grocery store.
    • While you’re in the store selecting your items.
    • When waiting in the checkout line.
  2. Notice your energy level and mood with patience and kindness. Use what you observe to make self-caring choices. Get outside for a walk. Take short meditation breaks. Ask for help or allow it.
  3. Be awake and aware as you eat dinner. Notice the taste, smell, color, and texture of the food. Listen to others with openness and curiosity. When you speak, think about how you want others to feel when they hear your words.

I will be sharing this shortened version of the Loving-Kindness Meditation and invite you to consider doing the same.

May all beings be filled with Loving-kindness.
May all beings be well.
May all beings be peaceful and at ease.
May all beings be happy.

May you be nourished on every level this Thanksgiving and always!