The classic Thanksgiving feast, in the United States, is a table of abundance, overflowing with food that beckons family and community together. But as much as I love Thanksgiving, I often enjoyed the anticipation of the meal more than the consequences. In other words, I ate way too much.
When I look at the stuff I have, in our house and on our property, I have the same feeling of “too much.” It’s time to be letting go and giving more away.
When I look at my schedule, the abundance of things I have to do quickly becomes overwhelming.
Sometimes abundance leads to “too much.” But giving up things, whether objects or opportunities, isn’t always easy. It’s harder still when things are taken from you, whether a job, contract, health or a beloved friend. That can hurt.
Perhaps some of the anger in this country is being voiced by people who feel they have lost something that was important to them: a way of life, a sense of opportunity. Maybe they feel disappointed that in this land of abundance they didn’t get enough.
I know the feeling of “I didn’t get enough.” It corrodes my thoughts when a contract doesn’t come through or my income doesn’t match my expectations. Underneath it all, my worst fear is a more primal one: perhaps I am not enough.
For me, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to recalibrate, to recognize and embrace the kinds of abundance in my life – to find a space of “enoughness” where I can appreciate what I’ve been given and relish who I am.
I woke up this morning, realizing that I was doing the creative work that I had yearned to be doing ten years ago. Setting aside material measures of success, I gave thanks for having an abundance of purpose, a feeling of right work, of meaning in my life, something I once longed for I can now recognize that I have.
Next, I saw the abundance of generosity in my life, where I can increase my enjoyment in even the smallest acts of contribution and celebrate the many opportunities to give.
Then, I gave thanks for the abundance of love around me, with my husband, family, friends, horses, community, and the beloved Barry the cat. I am blessed with so many opportunities to let my heart break and open, expand and grow, as I learn to receive love as much as I share it.
Finally, I was profoundly grateful for an abundance of connection, an abundance that keeps expanding when I feel tied to my truest self, am present to the world around me, and reach out to the divine.
These are the abundances that I can celebrate and let expand within me, knowing they will neither bloat my belly nor cram my closet. I know that there are many more to be claimed.
What are yours? Where do you find the true abundance in your life? I would love to hear.
In anticipation of Thanksgiving, I share this thought from Brother David Steindal-Rast: You do not have to be grateful for everything, but in everything you can find gratitude.
May you find gratitude in the abundance for your life.