This past weekend we were invited to our second Thanksgiving dinner by the same lovely hosts as last year. Two years in a row is definitely the start of a tradition and I am looking forward to next year already!
No, I’m not being presumptuous. I have apparently fulfilled the requirements of a permanent position at their table. I’m not sure if it was my fruit salad or the blog I wrote last year (Playing the Grateful Game), but I am deeply grateful for the opportunity of expressing appreciation and gratitude for the previous year’s events with old and new faces.
For those new to my blog, the highlight of the dinner is not only the turkey (which by the way was cooked to perfection), nor the desserts, beautiful wine and new faces, but the part where we go around the table and each person has a chance to share what they are grateful for as well as anything else that may have impacted on their lives.
This year was a real eye-opener for me. I noticed a few things that made me think deeply when I got home and I felt inspired by the courage and openness of each and every person at the table. People had pushed themselves out of their comfort zones, taken life-changing advice, were severely challenged by health scares and some serious health issues, motivated to change their lifestyles and had a spiritual awareness that seemed to light up the room and connect us as human beings.
It was deeper and more profound than simply being thankful. The love and appreciation came from the heart. While listening to other people around the table, I was reminded of two valuable lessons that we all forget from time to time in the rush of everyday life. The illusion of the perfect life and the actual reality of life. The real deal and what we perceive as reality are very different.
The old adages of “Don’t judge a book by its cover “and “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes” rang true for me.Before we jump to conclusions about anyone we need to understand their experiences, their thought processes and their unique challenges. Every day we see our neighbours, our colleagues, our children, our friends but do we really see them?
Thanksgiving gives us a reminder of what we are thankful for but it shouldn’t be once a year. We need to find ways, every day, of becoming empathetic to those around us and showing our gratitude, love and appreciation. This is what the human condition is about. This is our true journey.
This month’s mantra is a reminder to really “see” those around us. In the words of Alfred Adler:
“Seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.“ This in itself is enough to show gratitude and appreciation.