It is Thanksgiving. This is my holiday and by far my absolute favorite. Tomorrow I head off I head to spend time with my sister and my nieces. We will laugh,debate,eat,sleep, watch movies, eat, laugh, fight, shop. And not in that order! I will be missing my oldest daughter as she must work, but she will be celebrating with my mom and grandma in Chicago.
Wikipedia says that Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival. Traditionally, it’s a time to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude in general. As a country we’ve had another tough year and while things have gotten better, people still feel much pain and suffering; millions of people are currently unemployed. For many of us, it can be hard to stop worrying about the future and focus on how much we have received and show appreciation for it. A large body of work has suggested that people who are more grateful have higher levels of well-being. Grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships.
Over the past few months I have started meditating. The best gift I have ever given myself– bar none. I have been focusing on Loving Kindness meditation.
I have found that the more I meditate and the stronger my practice the more I give… and the more I want to give.
How to do it . . .
The practice always begins with developing a loving acceptance of yourself. The practice itself is designed to overcome any feelings of self-doubt or negativity. Then you are ready to systematically develop loving-kindness towards others.
Four Types of Persons to develop loving-kindness towards:
• a respected, beloved person – such as a spiritual teacher;
• a dearly beloved – which could be a close family member or friend;
• a neutral person – somebody you know, but have no special feelings towards, e.g.: a person who serves you in a shop;
• a hostile person – someone you are currently having difficulty with.
From the Metta Prayer:
Just as a mother would guard her child, her only child, with her own life, even so let me cultivate a boundless mind for all beings in the world.
Let me cultivate a boundless love for all beings in the world, above, below, and across, unhindered, without ill will or enmity.
So as you cultivate your boundless love for the world…GIVE. What better way to this holiday season than to volunteer and donate ? I do not think it’s enough for us to feel gratitude.
It’s the expression of this feeling that matters.
This year I will be giving Epic Thanks
One of my favorite sites, Epic Thanks site just launched yesterday, 11/21. As in years past, the global TweetsGiving celebration of gratitude & giving will last just 48 hours – so go there now to share your grateful heart & watch gratitude pour in from across the world. Epic Change believes the intention behind each investment we make to change the world deeply matters.
By investing in honor of all you have to be grateful for, you’re transforming the world with the very best your heart has to offer.
If you have plans to volunteer and or donate this holiday season, I would love to hear about it! Please share your story. If you know of volunteer opportunities and want to get word out to potential volunteers, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.