11/30/2014

Thanksgiving Weekend

joy

I’ve spent the last four days in Atlanta with my family and it has been very grounding. Last night at my Aunt’s house all of us younger people took over the large table in the dining room. We had so much fun enjoying home cooked food and cracking jokes with each other. Every so often I would pause just to take it all in. Sometimes I am amazed at how grown up we all are.

As we sat around the table I could feel the presence of my Grandparents. Maybe it was their art work on the walls, an old wooden bench that my Grandpa put his feet on when he watched TV, or the Italian cookbook my Mom and Aunt used to make dinner that was one of my Grandmas favorite books. The longer we sat, the more vivid the memories became. I felt very grateful for all of the wonderful memories I have from Thanksgivings past.

I am so proud of my brother and cousins. They have created such interesting and meaningful lives for themselves. As I grow older my appreciation for my family expands. I love having connections with them. In some ways it’s bitter sweet being home and that isn’t a bad thing. It has taken me many years to get to a place where I can take really good care of myself while I am home and simply enjoy it.

Years ago I had a spiritual teacher tell me that I needed to practice having fun around my family. I can tell you from experience it is much easier to practice having fun around them from a place of acceptance. For years I tried to micromanage energies beyond my control to help me feel grounded. I thought if my Dad would just do x-y-z, or if my Mom could x-y-z, then I could be comfortable and happy. Trying to control what I couldn’t control left me ungrounded and unhappy. My joy was directionally proportionate to the behaviors of the people around me. That was a very chaotic and disempowered way to be in the world.

Today I have a firm belief (and plenty of experience to back it up) that having fun with my family is completely in my control. My happiness is based much more on my attitude than it is about outside circumstances. Now talk about empowering, this is what living is all about! Am I a super positive person all the time? No, that is not my nature at all. I tend to be more critical about everything in general! However, cultivating an attitude of gratitude as I heard for years in recovery groups is totally the name of the game.

There is a reason why many cliches are still around, because they work. I don’t feel that cultivating an attitude of gratitude has lost its meaning. If more of us practiced this (and I mean really practice, not just give it lip service or post a quote about gratitude on Instagram) it would have a powerful effect on the entire world.

Think about how much we could heal each other if we made a genuine effort to live from a place of gratitude?

These last days at home have reinforced the practice of giving thanks no matter what is going on in my life. I am grateful that my Grandparents believed family was important. As much as it annoyed me that my Grandfather would give me a hard time for not calling him enough growing up, today I feel blessed to have known someone like him. He taught me to constantly think of others,  showed me the true meaning of being of service in community, and that service starts with eye contact, a big smile, and a friendly hello.

Sitting around the table last night with my cousins was something I will always remember. Often times it is the most humble events that feel the most profound. Wishing you all a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend.

xoa

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