Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash
By: Rebecca Liston
This past weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada. Where I live, the weather was a balmy 18 degrees C (that’s about 64 degrees F), the sun shone, the trees are just starting to turn colour, and the air was crisp and clean in that particular way it can be in autumn.
It was, in short, a perfect day.
It was an “odd” Thanksgiving for my family. No turkey dinner. No pumpkins on the porch. No hustle and bustle of making pie and potatoes and all the fixin’s.
You see, we actually chose to “skip” Thanksgiving this year so there was none of “all that” to be had.
And as a result…
I had moments when I felt really guilty for not honouring these timeless traditions.
And I had moments when I was so deeply relieved to not have to deal with the stupid friggin’ turkey at that unsavoury hour of dawn.
I had moments when I cried. I missed my family.
And I had moments when the stillness of the day felt like the most gorgeous gift of Thanksgiving I had ever experienced.
I had moments when I wondered if I had “ruined” all holidays for my children because here I was not even attempting to make an effort on this important occasion. What was I teaching them?!?
And I had moments when I observed their resting, their relaxation, and felt the relief of it all for them, too.
I had moments when I questioned my sanity.
And moments when I thought perhaps, this time, I actually had gotten it right.
In each of these moments, as I witnessed these thoughts and feelings flow through and around me, I had the single most important job of any holiday to do (and no, it wasn’t that of Gravy Taster).
I had the job of reminding myself that not doing what we traditionally do on Thanksgiving had been a conscious choice. And any thoughts and feelings that flowed through and around me as a result of this conscious choice were to be expected. Welcomed, even, no matter how challenging they may be to reconcile.
It was indeed a conscious choice to do things differently this year. And in making that conscious choice I had given myself perhaps the best Thanksgiving gift of all: I could thank MYSELF for making this choice so wisely, so carefully, so mindfully that it was going to serve me and my family no matter how difficult some of the resulting emotions and thoughts were.
And this, too, made managing those resulting emotions and thoughts all the easier. “You chose this. It’s okay that you’re experiencing the repercussions of that choice. This is normal. This is okay. This is to be expected. And. You chose this. You are okay.”
The delicious result of making conscious choices, no matter what they may be, comes when we know to expect that there will be repercussions of those choices and we accept them as part of the larger process.
We expect them. And we accept them.
This is the glory of conscious decision making right here, Dear Reader. Because not only are we conscious about the choice we are making, we are also fully aware of the potential ramifications, allowing us to navigate and flow within them with much more ease.
There will still be moments when I doubt the decision to “cancel” Thanksgiving. There will be times when I wonder what it could have been like had I made a different choice.
I expect that. I accept that. Because I know full-well that’s what happens when we make a bold, conscious choice.
So it’s okay. I am okay. My kids are okay. My family is okay. We are all just fine.
And next year? Who knows? All I know for sure is that another decision – another mindful, thoughtful, and conscious decision – will need to be made. And I will be ready for it.
Rebecca Liston is cofounder and business intuitive at Las Peregrinas, a creative and consulting agency. She specializes in anchoring folks in a clear-eyed understanding of which path is theirs for the taking. She’s got one foot in the land of the subtle and unseen, and the other foot firmly planted in the land of ruthless pragmatism. Oh, and she swears like a sailor, which makes us love her more.
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