“In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.”
I found that quote on www.history.com when I googled “thanksgiving history”. That’s a really long time of celebrating something as a collective group. It made me wonder how much of our planning and celebrating of this holiday is mindful and for how much of it are we really just absently going through the motions of what we have always done.
Last week I suggested writing out things that you could plan for to make your Thanksgiving celebration more enjoyable and if you joined me in that endeavor then I’m sure you’d agree that the thought involved in that task shifted our energy into a more mindful state about the holiday.
Today I ask you to join me as we dive deeper into mindfulness and meaning;
Do you ever stop and wonder ‘why?’ you’re celebrating in the way that you’re celebrating? Is there a way that you could change your ritual or traditions that may evoke a truer sense of ‘gratitude’ in your ‘thanksgiving’?
I recently read a story in a book called “Supreme Influence” by author Niurka, (a transformational teacher and speaker). In the story, a little girl is being taught by her mother how to make a roast. The mother teaches the girl, firstly, to cut off and remove both ends of the roast. When the little girl asks her mother “Why do we cut off the ends of the roast?” her mother is stumped. “I don’t know. That’s the way I was taught to do it. Ask your grandmother.” the mother instructs the girl.
And so the girl goes to her grandmother and asks “Granny, why do you cut the ends off first when preparing a roast?”
Again, the little girl is met with no answer. “I don’t know. That’s the way I was taught to do it. Ask your great grandmother.” She instructs the small girl.
And so the girl approaches her great grandmother “Great Granny” she says, “Why is it that you cut the ends off of the roast when preparing to make it?”
The great grandmother replies “Well, when I was a little girl, our oven was very small and so my mother cut off the ends of our roasts so that the roasts would fit in our oven.”
So many times we mindlessly go through our traditions without knowing why we do them and sometimes we do things that don’t serve us anymore!
Traditions come from somewhere, and I invite you to investigate the reasons behind the things you do in your family’s traditions. They could be full of wonderful history and meaning, that has been lost somewhere along the line, and by learning their history you could encounter a profoundly different experience by continuing them. Conversely, if the rituals you practice really hold no meaning at all and they don’t really serve a practical purpose anymore you could just be wasting the perfectly good ends of your roast!
It is my most sincere prayer that each one of you reading this has a supremely Happy Thanksgiving holiday and that you enjoy every moment of the day with mindful presence that enables you to hold the memory fondly in your heart for many many Thanksgivings to come.