Giving thanks…every damn day…
This past weekend was a long weekend for us Canadians as it was our Thanksgiving weekend. As I like to do, I embarked on a long-weekend adventure. This time I jumped on a ferry with my best friend and took a short sail over to the Sunshine Coast. Every year, our mutual friends, who actually introduced us last year (it was our friendaversary!), have a wood-chopping party on their 5 -acre farm in Gibson’s. It’s a beautiful short float over to the coast, and the town of Gibson’s itself is uniquely, small town West Coast and absolutely stunning. On the boat, we ran into a few others attending the same gathering and we started our festivities early! The sail is short and a mere 40 minutes later, we were waiting for our friends’ to pick us up and take us up to the farm to get to work chopping wood and prepping all the food.
Upon arriving at the farm, we unloaded the back of the truck and packed up all the ice, the extra food, liters of cooking oil, our bags and of course, the 2 kegs of local, micro-brewed, craft beer. Right away we all started to divide and conquer the work that needed to be accomplished. Tarps were rigged, chainsaws were humming, the keg lines were cleaned, the fire pit was lit, the deep fryer was filled with oil, and the food was starting to appear on the long tables. More and more people started to arrive throughout the afternoon and before long the outside, back yard, Canadian Thanksgiving BBQ was in full swing. Complete with deep fried turkey.
It was my second year attending the “annual woodchopping party” and I felt so thankful and grateful to be back and reconnecting with people I had met the year before. I also met a few new people, and one or two that will and have become new friends. That night, we sat around the fire, and I found myself feeling grateful to be full of laughter and looking at the sky full of bright, beautiful stars unhindered by the lights of the city, that I am generally used to.
The following day, three of us good girlfriends, headed off along the coast for a day of pampering at the spa. The drive was about an hour and after a stop at Starbucks to power up on coffee and breakfast sandwiches, we hit the road on a bright sunny fall morning. We all chatted and laughed and talked about funny moments from the day before and from the year before and so on. One of our other girlfriends met us there, and after our relaxing and indulgent treatments, we all met in the outdoor hot pools for some additional chill out time and chatter. Again, I found myself feeling thankful and grateful for the ability to enjoy such a pampered day with such amazing, intelligent, kind and loving women, who I am fortunate enough to call my friends.
Generally I shy away from the overly and overtly sentimental, touchy-feely, emotional outpourings, but as it was Thanksgiving, I decided to lean into these feelings of gratitude and to sit with the emotions I was experiencing. Despite feeling slightly uncomfortable hanging out with my mushy feelings, I also felt a stronger and more overwhelming sense of joy and happiness. I shared with my friends my feelings of gratitude for them and for the ability to spend this time together, knowing we all have lives and schedules that took juggling, negotiating and coordinating for this spa date to occur. In sharing this gratitude, it spread and it grew and we connected in a positive way, rather than with gossip.
The idea of being grateful is not a new idea, although currently forefront in the Mindfulness literature. Being grateful and identifying what you are grateful for has multiple health benefits, from boosting your immune system, improving psychological health and assisting with a better sleep. And I’m always looking for ways to improve my health!
I used to have a daily practice of writing down the one thing I was most grateful for every day. I would write this on my monthly calendar and at the end of the month, I could look back on the my month and see all of things/people/experiences that I had felt gratitude for. Some days, it was as simple as my morning cup of coffee that evoked my sense of thankfulness. This practice of finding gratitude in my daily life encourage me to be more present, it helped me feel more connected to my world and strengthened my relationships and friendships by encouraging me to be positive and kind in my interactions.
After a weekend of giving thanks and feeling gratitude for all that I have, I have renewed my desire to return to my daily practice of gratitude. My mantra has always been Present, Brave and Kind…it’s time to add Grateful to that and be thankful not only at Thanksgiving but every damn day!