GIVING THANKS - a powerful antidote to modern world chaos
Giving thanks honours what has been accomplished, what has been lost and won, acknowledges those who have made sacrifices including that of their lives. I am acknowledging the season of giving thanks with gratitude for you, for my unbelievable community, who has supported me throughout my endeavours. I am the richer for knowing you and for your trust in me.
The season is upon us. A time to give thanks. The urge to do so is as ingrained as when the first settlers initiated their great feasting activity after their first successful harvest in 1621. Giving thanks is a powerful antidote to the chaos of the modern world, yielding happiness and contentedness. It is the balm to the intense effort required to strike out into new territory, to stay the course when the path is unclear.
Gathered at the table for the Harvest Festival in the fall of 1621, as Thanksgiving was then known, sat 50 of the hardiest new Americans. Their compatriots, 102 in all, had left England 66 days prior, and long since passed from malnutrition, scurvy and exposure. Squanto, an English speaking member of the Pawtuxet tribe, along with roughly 90 Wampanoag tribesmen and their Chief Massasoit, also joined in the celebration. The group celebrated their bounty and thanks to the collaborative efforts of the indigenous Good Samaritans, they survived where their Jamestown compatriots sadly did not. The group sat as one, common in their mission to give thanks for what they had endured and ultimately accomplished - survival. This not an insignificant event that changed the course of history, particularly when Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a National Holiday in 1863.
I envision my own sturdy 16 foot dining table populated by the people who mean so much to me, family and friends, new relationships and old, all of whom I am thankful for. This table, built as the stage upon which to gather and dine, has witnessed a bounty of events from the creation of my print books, including my New York Times best selling book, regular Raise the Bar columns for Oxygen and Clean Eating magazines, to the joys of celebrating birthdays, holidays, relationships and accomplishments and finally the tears of loss. The ebb and flow of daily life, the welcoming and the letting go, stain the table with memories.
A volume of life events have unfolded at this table, permeating the very deeply scarred wood of the table top. I can trace my fingers over the marks of an errant pencil signature etched there, a scratch from a knife meant to slice the Thanksgiving turkey, a red wine stain from a rambunctious dinner party, life has seeped into the table. Even a faint marking of a complex math question from one of the girls, is groove into the table.
That table also factors in dreams that I haven’t yet executed. I envision you sitting with me, enjoying a clean meal, perhaps the Sweet Potato Hash of the Cleanse, or the Coffee Encrusted Bison Tenderloin and a wonderful splash of wine, a celebratory toast to our sisterhood of wellness. It would be wonderful to stand side by side with you in my kitchen, preparing a meal, marvelling in the beauty of wholesome foods. I dream of making this happen.
Above all, the table stands as the pulpit upon which we give thanks. I give my thanks to you for standing by me throughout the challenges of the last several years. I can’t tell you what it means to me that I can count on you to stand with me, to be my sisters and brothers in wellness. For you I give thanks. For your loyalty, I give thanks. For your inquisitiveness and creativity, I give thanks. You have pushed me to grow and I am better for it.
This month and next, my wish is to extend my thanks to you. I have prepared a Nix the November Nine Workout Circuit - a 10 minute circuit you can squeeze in, no matter how busy your days become during the holiday season. I have also created an Eat-Clean Diet® Holiday Survival Guide featuring simple, practical recipes that will answer the question of “What’s for Supper?” during the hectic holidays. I want to help you have a marvellous holiday season. I’m giving back. I want to do this because I am blessed to have such a fabulous community at my back and together we are better. This is how I want to thank you by providing simple strategies to survive - perhaps not quite the survival of the pilgrims, but survival nonetheless. Giving thanks is a powerful antidote to today’s modern chaos. Studies show, those who practice an attitude of gratitude, focus less on themselves and more outside of themselves. I encourage you to practice it, particularly as the days leading up to the holidays become increasingly more frenetic.
Here are 5 practical tips to help you give thanks on a daily basis.
- Find 10 things to be grateful for and say them out loud to yourself or someone else. Saying them out loud makes the thanks more concrete.
- When someone is testing your patience and all else seems dismal, play the Gratitude Game. Each one of you takes a turn to list something he or she is grateful for - “I am grateful for ______.”
- Keep a Gratitude Journal. Writing down the things you are grateful for improves health and reduces anxiety, while also being more optimistic.
- View challenges as an opportunity to develop your resilience muscle. Ask yourself “What can I learn from this that will help me grow?”
- Consider that what you have is likely far more than what most of the people have. More material goods doesn't necessarily make you a happy person. Studies show that highly affluent people are not always happier. It is more important to value how you feel about what you have.
Incorporate giving thanks over the holidays so you can experience higher levels of happiness and contentedness. Apply the balm of giving thanks to calm the frenzy of what is often an overwhelming time. Thank you for you. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your loyalty. Thank you for your questions. Thank you for your love.
I would love to hear your story of how giving thanks has helped you overcome a challenging time. Please share your story in the comments section below.
Remember, I am always listening. Tosca Reno