It's Thanksgiving! For most of us, today is a day full of people we love and delicious food. It's a day where we set aside time to reflect on what we're thankful for - our families, our friends, our homes, our jobs. For some, the holidays also come with some unwanted stressors: cooking more than we want to, traveling in bad weather, and that feeling of being "forced" to have awkward conversations with people you don't normally spend time with (I'm grateful that I'm not in this category, but a lot of people are). Regardless of what your holiday outlook is, Thanksgiving is a day for reflection and gratitude.
Today, Mike & I announced that after four years away, we're moving back to Marquette - the place where it all began. Anyone who has moved even a short distance understands how much goes into it. It would be really easy to get lost in the stress of it all: managing grad school while preparing for a move 7 hours away, leaving my job and not having a job to go to, finding a place to live, saying "see you later" to friends and family that we've grown close to during our time in Detroit, and working to maintain a healthy balance in my relationship with so many moving pieces in our lives. Throw all of this on top of the hustle & bustle of the holiday season and there is serious potential for chaos and breakdowns.
So, on this Thanksgiving and moving forward, I am choosing an alternative. What is within my control? In the past, I have always turned to my yoga practice for guidance and solitude during stressful times. A lot of yoga teachers ask students to consider setting an intention to guide their practice. Common themes are often gratitude, guidance, forgiveness, strength, and surrendering control. Setting an intention allows one's rambling thoughts to take a break while allowing one overriding idea steal the focus, letting the body do the work. The intention of my yoga practice this morning was a compilation of many of these themes. Expressing gratitude for my body, my life, and my surroundings while disregarding perfection and expectations. Jumping into the unknown with a sense of ease, doing my best to keep a "one day at a time" mindset. The point of setting an intention is to connect what's happening on the yoga mat to other things in life: the holiday gatherings, the long distance moves, the unknowns.
On Thanksgiving, social media becomes a much happier place. Posts about being late, spilling coffee, and waiting in traffic seem to disappear. Instead, we see posts about finding peace in the falling snow, thoughts about family and friends, and gratitude for the food in front of us. I have to wonder what it would look like if there were more days of the year where people were naturally inclined to share what it was that made them happy, versus the things that made them stressed + frustrated. What would be the outcome?
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there. Beyond expressing thanks, try setting an intention - a thought to fall back on. Feel free to share your intentions - stating them aloud (or typing them) turns a thought into reality. Most of all, enjoy your holiday, your food, and your company!