The most savored Thanksgiving experience I ever had was in Boulder, completely unexpected.
My friends Julie and Chanel took me up into the mountains to a friend’s house. It had sweeping windows, vistas of snow caps from every angle. A very long table was set up on the ground, and we were all invited to sit around it on cushions.
And what I remember most about it was the intention.
There was plenty of food, but there wasn’t this rush to eat it. It was there on our plates, and we were all invited—all 20+ of us—to give thanks before we ate. There was live music, a beautiful singer and guitarist, who played a tune I had stuck in my head for months afterward.
Mainly, there was a softness, a quiet reverence that I loved about it. And after we ate, we stayed talking and drinking, sharing and making new friends.
This one Thanksgiving gave me a greater appreciation for what the holidays can be—if we let them.
This year, I’ll be at 2-3 different Thanksgiving celebrations on the East Coast. And what I desire most right now is connecting to others on a deeper level. This means more than going around the table and half-heartedly blurting out something I’m thankful for.
I want space for honesty. I want space for someone to be so honest that they might say: “You know, I’m really not feeling a lot of gratitude in my life right now” and for that to be welcomed, felt and loved. And then, if they like, explored in a group setting.
And so I have some questions for you that you might like to ask in your own gathering. These questions are sourced with 100% gratitude from the If: Gathering, touched with a dash of my own flavor.
These can be asked all at once at a dinner gathering, or perhaps if you’re with loved ones for a few days this holiday season, you can ask the first one or two at lighter-feeling times and the other two at more intimate times.
1) What are the easy, uncomplicated things that you’re thankful for this season?
2) What are some of the more unexpected or surprising gifts you’ve received this past year?
3) Even in the midst of gratitude, is there something you’re longing for?
4) What might the Divine be inviting you to learn through this longing?
Please, if you use any of these and would like to share with me the results—I’d always love to hear it.