Thanksgiving Mindfulness

December 1, 2023 by

By John Schorling

 Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to practice mindfulness.  The day is devoted to giving thanks, and we can pay attention to all of the things for which we can be thankful: family, friends, food, activities.  We can Intentionally notice our experience as it arises, becoming aware of being in relationship with others, and really paying attention to what we are eating, drinking, and doing.

Thanksgiving is also an opportunity to notice when we wish things were different than they are. We might find getting to wherever we are planning to go challenging.  We might be spending time alone when we would prefer to be with others, or we might be with people we find difficult.  Our favorite sports team might lose.  When faced with these moments, we can see if it’s possible to just be with things as they are, noticing what we are feeling without judgement.  We can notice the thoughts that arise and recognize the choice we have in getting caught up in them, which may only serve to amplify our suffering, or in letting them go.  This doesn’t mean we have to passively accept our situation, but rather to observe it so that we can choose the most skillful response.

As we pay attention to our experience and that of others, we can also cultivate kindness. We can bring kindness to ourselves if what we are facing is difficult, and we can extend kindness and compassion to others if they are struggling.

John Kabat-Zinn has observed that “as long as you are breathing, there is more right with you than there is wrong” and, although we may want our circumstances to be different, for this we can be thankful.

Filed Under: Monthly Musings