Happy Thanksgiving: Celebrating the Seasons of Life!

The Sun Coming Up

The Sun Coming Up – Thanksgiving Morning 2014

The sun came up over my backyard white weather-worn board on board fence welcoming the day.  A cool 55 and breezy for those of us in the Broward-Dade locale. Today is Thanksgiving. Traditionally a holiday of family, food and lol–football. For many a tradition that includes Macy’s parade, whether viewing from the living room television screen or huddled on the street watching large balloon characters & turkeys tethered by ropes, colorful marching bands in their best regalia, high kicking Rockettes and ornate elaborate extravagant floats, all symbols of things we have grown up with and love. Tradition. It is all around us. We love it. We live by it, and we look forward to ‘ours’ each year. Right? But what happens when we don’t fit in to the likeness or painted image imprinted in our minds-eye?

If change is the “new normal” and it’s affecting all parts of our lives, then I guess we should expect our holidays to take on a new look and feel. However most of us have strong resistance to change. The memorable Norman Rockwell painting has all but vanished in most nuclear families. We live and work in all parts of the globe; not everyone can always “get home.” Family dynamics change through divorce, death, marriages or downsizing. Sometimes the next in-line no longer desires to carry on the family tradition, refusing to pick up where Mom left off.

Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld, Mash  sitcoms or the Star Trek series Next Generation helped visibility demonstrate family doesn’t necessarily stay confined to those in our biological circles.  As dysfunctional as the characters were at times, they cared about each other in times of need; mimicking life? Far truer and closer to our reality than we probably realize.  If, TV parrots life: Modern Family represents a new example, would you not agree?  Holidays, like life, evolve the way our life does. It may begin the years we’re in the dorm at school, in a particular neighborhood,  or within a close circle of friends.  Life just happens. The evolution is simply where we are in the moment writing our script in own personal movie–or sitcom. My own life and family looked very different 15 years–or even 30 years ago than today, and completely different than growing up.  I would say in a much better, and healthier view of the world.

I am meeting friends at one of my favorite restaurants, in walking distance from my home, near the ocean. I will talk to my boys–now 26 and almost 30 on the phone who live thousands of miles from each other, and from Florida. I will make a call to Seattle and talk to my parents, divorced, but still living and touch bases with my siblings. I will send and receive Thanksgiving texts and talk some more on the phone, and visit nearby friends, but mostly I will enjoy the day. I refuse to dwell in ‘what could or should have been’ and simply enjoy the moment and company of others–laughing, sharing stories and having gratitude for today.  Creating new traditions again. It is a no-muss, no-fuss kind of year. What is important is embracing our life NOW and enjoying what is.

We are always at choice point. I encourage you to create something new and different. Reach out to someone less fortunate. Play golf, do something that you enjoy. Perhaps, take in a movie. Each Holiday has looked very different in the last 10 years and I am okay with that–in fact embracing what comes in an adventurous–let it unfold kind of way; expectations gone.  Be mindful, our holidays and our tradition can always look a number of ways. Be happy where you are right now, evolve the way your life evolves. Next year will be different.  When the artist begins with the blank canvas he or she is in the process of creation. Be the artist.   Choose the colors you love.  Paint your portrait with any colors; joy is all that is required.  Use pastels, watercolors or oil. Use your fingers, sponges or a brush. Metaphors for the seasons of our life. Create something beautiful with what you have today.  I plan to and so can you!  Happy Thanksgiving to all!


Thoughts on . . . Thanksgiving

Happy-ThanksgivingWhat is important to us? What’s really important? With the approaching holidays just around the bend–perhaps it is time to examine our priorities and lighten up? “Perfect” is only a state of mind; a belief. The perfect dinner. The perfect table. The perfect company. We put so much pressure on ourselves and others about what holidays HAVE to look like. Maybe we need more spontaneity and fun? Yes, the new “F” word: FUN.  Anyone who knows me, knows I like to cook, inviting others to enjoy a great meal–no matter what the occasion. But gone are the days when everything must be just so.  It is all about enjoying the moment.   I am giving you permission for the same!

When the fun is gone, the stress takes over. Is it time to re-create and unlearn how we believe the holidays must look? Can you be in the moment and enjoy the NOW—not worrying about the next leg of the modern-day relay race? Why not decide in advance how you can remove some of the pressure of the perfect “Hallmark” dinner. Maybe crazy cousin Eddy’s unexpected arrival is divinely designed to add the spark of humor and lightness that no one else brings? The dessert falling or the dog helping himself to the plate of appetizers will not be the end, but a memory everyone will remember and laugh about long after the wishbone from the turkey is snapped. It is the heart not the head that gets us into this feeling of love and love doesn’t care about perceptions –a wrinkled table cloth or chips in a couple of plates.  It directs you to what is real.

If it is easier to share the responsibility–or get the restaurant on the corner to do part of the cooking, so much the better. I know it looks different for every family. This year, is it possible to start a new tradition? Or UN-learn something? Perhaps, invite someone to your house who has no family near? Or choose to bury the hatchet with a relative over an argument you had that you can’t even remember what it was about? A potluck? A neighborhood Thanksgiving? A brunch or an open house? Or a different day; it is only a day on the calendar.

Whatever it is, make the declaration and set the intention to have fun. Attitude is everything. When the stress creeps in, don’t forget to exercise–even just a quick walk will make a difference. Trade an apple for a slice of apple pie. Visualize, meditate and keep a good attitude. It’s only dinner after-all!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cathy Silver

Holistic Health Coach and Wellness Warrior

Snoopy and Indian Thanksgiving

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