Fast approaching, the Thanksgiving holiday is the one where gratitude is supposed to take center stage while a moist and roasted turkey takes up that same sort of real estate on the table. We're all so grateful for our gifts and talents, boons and blessings, yet sometimes this very day elicits an opposite emotion from some of us.
Sometimes, just sometimes, when family, friends and ancestors all assemble for a holiday celebration, harsh words make it onto the menu, too -- making all the ennui a bit too hard to swallow. "I've got a bone to pick with you" might not be referring to the one where pinky wishes are silently made. Yes, we all know that holidays bring families together, but what happens when some who go the distance end up being driven apart?
Let's face it, we all want these special days to unfold in a smooth, stress-free and enjoyable way -- especially Thanksgiving! With its emphasis on both appreciation and appetizers, this holiday can be unusually stuffed full with equal amounts of dark meat and dread.
Just ask Meredith! Married for more than 20 years, Meredith had never hosted the family Thanksgiving before and was bound and determined to make everything absolutely perfect, from menu to table décor to making sure that her furniture placement made her guests feel comfy and at ease during that first year she was tasked with turkey duty. Yes, Meredith was intent on creating the most beautiful weekend in the world, although, truth be told, she was concerned about her older sister, a critical chick with a gourmet palate and a forked tongue who had a particular gift for getting under Meredith's skin.
One shade shy of frantic, Meredith rang me last year and asked if there was anything from the worlds of ancient traditions and customs that would help make this modern-day celebration one that would wow! Of course there is. Here are some of the powerful and positive results-oriented action items that I offered up:
1) Always try your best to use yellow mums as the floral décor of choice, and also try your best to place them strategically all throughout the home. These plants, along with other assorted fresh-cut flowers, are known to usher in both tranquility and peace while also bringing a handy dash of recognition and reward for you efforts. Yellow flowers are often used to enhance and "wake up" a room, much like the rising sun does each day. Stay with that idea because yellow flowers are believed to bring a sunshine spirit to any room, as they lighten and brighten while creating a cozy, welcoming environment. Now, if you are visiting (and lucky you if you are!) you can go ahead and gift your host and hostess with a yellow mum. (You'll then be wishing them a heaping helping of harmony and happiness.) And then your friendship will be something that they will be truly thankful for!
2) Try your best to use side lighting (e.g., table lamps, candles, etc.) as opposed to overhead lighting. Harsh or over-the-head lights can create subtle shadows that will have a negative effect on the psyche of everyone in the room. Only using overhead lighting is thought to lead to anxious guests, and that's one energy that nobody ever invites in the first place. Using both side and overhead lighting or strictly side-lighting alone creates a cozy and warm atmosphere that lifts spirits rather than depressing them! This tip is worth a drumstick alone!
3) Cover your table with a cloth, as these are thought to have the ability to absorb any negative vibes or floating discord. For this occasion, paper just won't cut it.
4) Place a round and flat mirror (any size) under the centerpiece on the table to ground the energy in that room and to offer the opportunity to reflect back on the year that just passed, giving thanks for all the wonders and fortune and luck that this year held. Round and flat mirrors positioned under the centerpiece are said to disperse health, happiness and harmony into the room, three guests you should gladly invite to break bread with you!
5) Serve almond rice cookies (along with whatever other pumpkin pie traditions or age-old dessert recipes your family and friends enjoy) at the end of this feast. This super-sweet secret not only brings a delicious close to the day's events but also adds an extra dollop of fortune and luck, as well -- at least ancient Feng Shui masters say so. Closing a meal with these peace-packed confections strikes the absolutely sweetest chord.
6) After that main meal has been served and eaten, it's time to take a walk. It's believed that, weather permitting, getting outside and connecting with nature will restore, revive and rejuvenate even the most lulled-into-food-and-football-coma energies. While you are out and about, you should practice a conscious kind of breathing. As you inhale in through the nose, you should bring in a big breath of oxygen that fills the belly (although there may not be as much room there as you might like). On the inhale, breathe in a special word that you would like to embrace in your life.
Often I tell my clients to breathe in the word "comfort" or even "joy." You visualize that joy going all the way down and filling the belly. Then, on the exhale, breathe out true and sincere gratitude. Blow your blessings, hard, into the ethers and the atmosphere before breathing in your hope or wish or dream again. Then breathe it out with big gusts of gratitude. Do this eight times in all, and shift your essence and your vibration to become the magnet for the manifestation you desire. This is a powerful breathing exercise that will even help your digestion process, as well. Be filled with joy, and give gratitude back.
7) Lastly, there is the olden tradition of eating United States pears after sundown on Thanksgiving to bless everyone with health, happiness and prosperity until the next Thanksgiving rolls around.
It turns out that Meredith's first Thanksgiving will most assuredly not be her last, as everyone left with a warm feeling in their hearts and a full belly, too. She saw her guests off with her hopes that they could do it again soon, and that they would all enjoy the Three Great Blessings according to Feng Shui: health, happiness and prosperity! This is precisely the same sentiment and wish that I gratefully ask for each and every one of you: a healthy, happy and prosperous holiday filled with good food, great family and friends, harmony, joy and, of course, gratitude galore!