Thoughts on Thanksgiving
This food is the gift of the whole universe—the earth, the sky, and much hard work.
May we live in a way that makes us worthy to receive it.
May we transform our unskillful states of mind, especially our greed.
May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent illness.
We accept this food so that we may realize the path of practice.
~Traditional, via Thich Naht Hanh
Although I try to approach each day with a sense of gratitude, Thanksgiving reminds me all day that I am surrounded by abundance and blessing. It’s taken me time to understand and appreciate the significance of this. It’s not about creating the perfect table settings and Gourmet magazine side dishes. It’s about strengthening relationships, acknowledging our dependence on others and our environment, and noticing the beauty of the world.
Less is more. I love cooking and eating good food, and creating a beautiful space. But the more I spend focused on the “what” instead of the “why” of gathering loved ones around a shared meal, the more resentful I feel. I get caught up in unnecessary details that add stress and prevent me from enjoying the holiday. I’ve learned that when I focus on the meaning of the day, I have more time to spend with family members and friends, more time to enjoy a walk, I feel more connected to the world, and am content.
For me, Thanksgiving is the people, the love, the sharing, and the pumpkin pie. That’s all I need to make this Thursday something special. The challenge is to continue to live a “less is more” lifestyle that celebrates the abundance of and appreciation for all life, and makes my relationships with others and the world around me my highest priority and joy.