For many of us Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. It is most definitely mine! This year, I dug into that sentiment a bit. I asked myself, “Why is it that I treasure the energy of Thanksgiving so much?” The answer was clear: giving thanks is one of the most potent and healing things any person can do. This holiday is set aside to honor the concept of gratitude, and to join everyone together in a community of gratitude.
The most powerful gratitude is one acknowledged in times of hardship. Just think of the originators of this holiday, the Pilgrims, and all they went through to get to the New World. From today’s perspective, it’s mind-boggling. They crossed the Atlantic in a 17th century sailing vessel in two months of extreme weather conditions. On December 11, 1620 they landed in New England winter weather with no shelter, food or provisions. There were 102 people when they started the voyage, and by spring they had lost 46. They were tested in so many ways. And yet they gave thanks!
To me, the Pilgrims’ hardships represent the power we have as humans to move through unfathomable difficulty and not only survive, but thrive. Our forefathers and foremothers taught us what it means to give thanks in the face of the most threatening conditions. If they can hold that torch of deep gratitude in all they went through, then so can I.
When faced with challenge, we get the chance to grow into deeper feelings and knowledge of ourselves. There is huge personal success in experiencing discomfort, knowing it is there, and making it through to the other side of that suffering. Gratitude is a tribute to all we learn in the most difficult situations of our lives. The most arduous challenges offer us the greatest perspective. It is the hardest work of our lives to experience pain, and yet, stay present to gratitude for the lessons it brings.
During this holiday of giving thanks, I feel gratitude for the difficulty that has sculpted my path. I know I am stronger for it. It has supplied me with the chance to know the potential for my life and feel its power active in my life every day.
All blessings in the peace and joy of this day.