Day 57 of 100 days of Blogging
Today is Thanksgiving in the United States.
Earlier today, I had a little bah humbug going on and I know it was because I said no to attending a Thanksgiving celebration. Somewhere inside of me there was discomfort and guilt, like I should just suck it up and be social and eat tons of food. I have so much to be grateful for, so why was I pushing this holiday away with an outstretched hand?
This year I wanted to stay away from the food frenzy that happens with Thanksgiving. I have been really focused on my own health care over the past few months. Rest. Walking. Eating healthier. Eating less. Losing ten lbs. Feeling connected to my body again. Going to the University of Maryland Dental School every week. Community Acupuncture at Revive in College Park. Finishing some creative projects. Decluttering my life. Dreaming and visioning for 2016. And then Thanksgiving was getting closer and it felt like a pressure, an inconvenience to be endured.
Up until a few years ago, Thanksgiving was always one of my favorite holidays because it felt like there was no pressure. Strangers, friends, family could all come together to say a prayer, a gratitude, eat food, share conversation, crafts and games. It was always an easy, fun holiday. I loved to cook for it. I loved the social gathering. I loved inviting people to my home or going to someone’s home. This year was different. I wanted to do something else. To write. To walk. To be.
So, I did. And once I gave myself permission and compassion and acceptance, the day flowed beautifully. I talked with my Dad who is in rehab in Florida, recovering from a stroke and to my Mom who was at their home preparing to go to rehab and eat dinner with my Dad. My niece got engaged in Atlanta and I congratulated her through text. I texted or talked with all 3 of my daughters and one of them challenged me on Fitbit to walk 10,000 steps. I spent time writing and reading and walking outside on this gorgeous 63 degree F, sunny day. Even walked the labyrinth at University of Maryland, College Park.
During the day, I remembered a few happy Thanksgiving memories:
One of my favorite Thanksgivings was the year after I separated from my first husband. My two little daughters were with me that year, a few close friends and ten other people who were invited one by one because they didn’t have a place to go. For a few weeks, I had walked around the office, around church, around the school my children attended and asked people what they were doing or where they were going for Thanksgiving. If they said, “No plans,” or they weren’t sure, I invited them to my home. We had six people who said yes and then a sudden snowstorm was predicted in the forecast. Four more people who had planned to drive from Baltimore to New Jersey or New York were looking at a grid lock on the highway so they came to my home at the last minute. Of course, I had a ton of food. The house was decorated. We had plenty of room and that year I had Swedish crafts and candle making as part of the day. Music and singing rounded out the event. We all had a blast.
One year I made so many different dishes that three of the dishes never made it to the table. I had a goal of cooking everything in the Girl Scout Cookbook (our fundraiser that year) I made so much food it was gluttonous. I didn’t care. It was the first Thanksgiving after my husband died. We had a table filled with dear friends of all ages and I poured my heart into the cooking and sharing and eating.
Writing this blogpost, I feel a little lighter about my decision. I can feel the fun memories and I don’t have to discount the beauty and connections from those years just because I wanted to stay away from the celebration and the food this year. I can feel the gratitude for all of the support and the love.
I know there are people who are sad today and who spent the holiday alone. Whether it was your choice to do something different for Thanksgiving or a year of circumstances when you were alone, remember, next year is another year. Decide if you want more connection and spend the next year exploring that or like me, consciously choose and create the day you want.
I had a great day. I am filled with the gratitude to be connected with amazing, loving, caring people all over the planet. I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful for you.
Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voice to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women and men to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. In addition to serving as Heal My Voice’s Executive Director, Andrea is an Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and Sexuality Coach.
She is following her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and supporting others in doing the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.