Even though I did not grow up in the country where Thanksgiving is celebrated and my first encounters with this holidays were from the episodes of Mr. Bean or The Friends, I found my way to relate to the spirit of this holidays (or my interpretation of it).
In my twenties I was few times part of a proper American as well as Canadian Thanksgiving celebrations. Family and friends gathering together, lot of food, discussing and feeling the GRATITUDE. I also experienced that this holiday (as well as most of other holidays people see as important) means STRESS for lot of people and sometimes the effort to get right outer set-up overwrites the essence of the celebration.
I guess pursuit of yoga discipline influenced me big deal, but I truly believe that gratitude is something to be consciously cultivated on daily basis. My small ritual is that every day after waking up I am drinking a cup of mild herbal tea and this is my time to reflect on one thing that I am grateful that particular morning, that particular moment. It is a great exercise which after while becomes without effort part of the mindset. And for sure I don´t try to say that I live in the state of pure deep gratitude every minute, all day long - I am encountering the situations that frustrate me, that make me sad etc., but I see them more like a surface churning - underneath in the deeper layers there is this stable base of feeling of gratitude for the LIFE, which I feel is nourished also by this small everyday ritual. And of course these situations as well are eventually possible to be re-framed as things we are grateful for... but we can start step by step - expressing first the gratitude for things in our lives we can positively relate to.
And as many other things, gratitude can be cultivated within our yoga practice (on and off the mat) - as we are noticing our breath, we can invite the feeling of gratitude for being able to breath, as we are noticing sensations in our feet, we can feel grateful for having them, as we are connecting with the ground, we can allow that warm feeling of gratitude for living on the Mother Earth enter our heart🙏
Anyways, whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving or not, I would like to invite you to take a moment to read this quote of Yogi Bhajan:
“The attitude of gratitude is the highest way of living, and is the biggest truth, the highest truth. If you are grateful for what you have, then Mother Nature will give you more…. If you do not acknowledge what you have, in gratitude, you will never have more….So be in gratitude. Make an attitude to be in gratitude, you will find the whole Universe will come to you.”