Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. While Christmas reminds me of that first date: trying to make the right impression, stressful, over indulgent, and a feeling of fleeting good behavior, Thanksgiving is reuniting with a true loved one: comfortable being yourself, sharing what you love, gratitude and a feeling of abundance.
I love when people come together over a meal, share in conversation and build traditions. I love to cook. When feeling creative, I take a new recipe I made to my grandmothers. There is always an abundance of food and the home is busting at the seams with family. There are parades and football games on the TV, family members planning their Black Friday routes and when we’ve had our fill, sometimes there’s even football played out in the middle of the road. It’s a day filled with abundance and wonderful tradition.
I know a woman that created an annual tradition for her and her children. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving they would go and spend a few hours at a local food pantry. It was an eye opening experience the first time they volunteered. Before the crowds lined up, they would be sort bulk items and the put together the food boxes. Most of the food came from the food bank, local grocery stores and private donations. As much as possible they tried to make the boxes uniform with the same ingredients but unfortunately, the inventory didn’t produce the same quantities for all items and substitution was king. Once the crowds arrived they would they provide check-out assistance, helping families load the food boxes into the cars. Families of all sizes came through the doors. They didn’t complain about what they received, they didn’t ask if they could swap their can of peas for a can of corn. They shared their gratitude for the food, for the assistance loading their vehicle, and shared their excitement to be able to provide a meal for loved ones. It was labor intensive but a fulfilling activity for mom and the kids. Each year after the volunteer activity, the mother would ask her children about their experience. They said they were reminded they importance to serve others, it was a humbling and a reminder to always be grateful. They talked about the conversations as they helped families load their vehicles and ALL looked forward for the next time they could volunteer.
This story reminds me of how in any given situation, abundance can be found.
Living abundantly is mindful living, believing that everything you need will be provided for you. It may not everything you want, at the time that you want it, and in the manner you believe you should receive it. It’s not a magical spell that you make a wish upon and it suddenly appears. It’s being thoughtful and with laser beam focus, working toward your goals both personally and professionally. It is an opportunity for everyone at anytime. It doesn’t happen overnight and possible trials and tribulations will tempt you to get off track. However, if you continue to focus and take what you’ve learned, it will help you to understand that even in the simplest or most difficult moments you can find that you have an abundant life. It has been a practice that I’ve believed in for many years and even more so in the past year.
“Your playing small does not serve the world.” Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
Styling and creating has been a way for me to live an abundant life, to share the gifts I have with others. I’ve had the honor of working with people to show how beautiful they are, and build their confidence. A couple of years ago I was asked to provide styling advice to women who are part of the Crossroads for Women programs. This organization works to break cycles and build lives by empowering women “to overcome the pervasive and persistent effects of violence and other harmful life experiences”. I had the pleasure of working with a number of women who were now looking to dress professionally and create their futures. I recall a specific conversation with a woman, I’ll call her Marie. As I was finishing up the one-on-one personal styling and shopping event, I stepped out to take a quick bathroom break. When I came back, Marie was waiting for me. She was holding her bag full of finds. I smiled at her and she smiled back. She stopped me to share her gratitude. I told her it was my pleasure. She began cry softly and continued to say that no one had ever paid such attention to her needs and the clothing I helped her pick out not only made her feel beautiful, but also confident. She talked about her past and her time being incarcerated. Marie was now on the track to finish her degree and working on a dream to be business owner. She talked about her goals and being reunified with her children. She was no longer playing small in her life but instead living it to the fullest, open to what the future would now bring.
“Clothes and other personal effects are no different than any other art form. If we perceive them lovingly, they can lift the vibrations and increase the energy around us.” Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
It’s funny how we’ve been conditioned to believe we live in a time of scarcity. We don’t have enough time or enough money or enough this or that. Right now, as I type this, many are out hunting for the Black Friday deals. For some, the need for finding the right price is budget driven, but for many it’s the hunt and keeping up with the latest consumption trend. Because of incredible advertising and through the media and especially reality television, we have learned that in order to be happy we need instant gratification and we want what others have. Society has dictated that you’re not admired unless you have the right career, the perfect family, or sadly, a certain number of likes on social media. Scarcity focuses on worry and fret over things you can’t control. There is a lack of mindfulness that occurs when you don’t tune into the fact that what you want will be shown to you, but you have to be available to receive it. But more importantly, having an abundant life is sharing those gifts with others. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to be mindful of this.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
My final thought for the Thanksgiving holiday and moving into the season of giving is this: I hope you spent time with loved ones and were present. I hope you enjoyed a wonderful meal and were grateful. I hope you had time to relax and the day was filled with laughter, shared stories and memories, and I truly hope it refueled your soul. And if you had to work, thank you for your service to others. If you were alone, I hope in the coming year you find companionship. I am grateful to all who are a part of my journey and look forward to what is to come.
With light and love,