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  • Writer's pictureElisa Juarez

Thanksgiving Treasures

November 24, 2021

Autumn and Thanksgiving hold such treasures that I am always reluctant to let go and move into the next season. I think it’s because autumn is so short in Texas; the leaves don’t change color until November and warm weather lingers. I like to keep the décor up until December arrives, even as many households jump into Christmas before the turkey has cooled off. Our culture is Christmas-crazy, rushing through Thanksgiving to get on with it. For me, something is lost in the process, even though I absolutely love the Christmas season. I just want to slow it all down and savor it. I am especially aware of this the week of Thanksgiving. The treasures of these days are in the preparation and anticipation. I’ve always enjoyed the planning and preparations almost as much as the feast. Perhaps because anticipation is so delicious and invigorating! The celebration is elevated by a festive table, special foods, and family traditions. Whether our gathering is small or large, we can raise a glass and raise our awareness to the beauty and bounty of Spirit. Similar treasures show up in the next season as we anticipate, prepare, decorate, and celebrate. There is comfort and joy in the music, movies, lights, and rituals that surround the December holidays. At this point in the year, we all need a renewal of hope in humanity and a boost to our weary spirits. We receive these treasures when we stop to notice and savor them. They are delivered to us directly when we give ourselves the gift of time, space, and stillness. It is truly a sacred season for our souls, a time for renewal and reflection as the year comes to a close. Let’s not miss this. It will prepare us for the new year. It comes back to the challenge of being present, a lesson that keeps showing up for me. This week I was reminded (again) how I need to practice presence when my defenses and emotions get triggered. Soon after reacting, I realized that all I needed to do was listen, nod, and breathe, then say a few words of empathy. Why was that so hard? My defenses overcame my senses. Then I had the uphill climb of self-forgiveness while regret kept pulling me back. We have to release the weight of past mistakes to find peace and healing. Holidays and family dynamics stir up all kinds of feelings, expectations, and memories which can rock our boats. We expect a lot of ourselves and those around us which can lead to disappointment. I’m going to be practicing the skills that keep me focused and grounded: breathing, listening, paying attention, and controlling my tongue. I’ll work on letting go of anything that gets in the way of good tidings, comfort, and joy. As you gather to gobble this week, let the treasures of your heart spill out into all you do. Savor the beauty and bounty of the season and slow down wherever you can. Enjoy the moments of making memories, pies, and happy hearts. Gratitude & Grace, ej Elisa J. Juarez

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