Images of Thanksgiving Day have become all about fall colors, turkeys, and pumpkins. We look forward to the scrumptious feast and drink, and we give thanks for all that we have. What is lost in this picture is the real story of Thanksgiving. The real story is about vastly diverse groups of people in intense conflict coming together across cultural and religious differences, setting aside their territorial disputes, and breaking bread together. The Native Americans and the English immigrants helped each other harvest the crops and survive the brutal winters. The moral of Thanksgiving is about mutual support, mutual forgiveness, and coming together in community for mutual benefit. So as you prepare to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal with your family and friends, here are three relationship tips to keep in mind.
LOOK, NOTICE, AND AVOID JUDGMENT
Forget about whether the turkey emerging from your oven looks delicious. Don’t fret over the setting of the table or about making your home look beautiful and festive. Spend that time really looking at your spouse, your children, and anyone else you have invited to your table. Take them in deeply and with love. Set aside your judgments and resentments and see if you can SEE something to appreciate and admire.
SAVOR THE CONVERSATIONS AND CONNECTION
As you enjoy the salty, the sweet, and the aromatic tastes and smells of the delicious food on your plate, notice how your mouth and your body feel when they are nourished and cared for. By all means savor the food and drink but don’t forget to savor the conversations and the connection you have with the people around you. Are you noticing and really taking in the words, the warmth, and the bonding that is going on? Are you nourishing your heart and your mind with the delectable stories and humor floating around the table? If there is someone at the table you have not made time for in the past few weeks, then take extra care to connect with this person. Don’t rush to clear the table or bring out the dessert. Embrace the Slow Food Movement in your home this Thanksgiving.
SWEETEN YOUR WORDS AND YOUR PALATE
The best part of the Thanksgiving meal are the desserts, right? In some cultures, dessert is eaten first because the belief is that by sweetening our mouths first, we are more likely to think kind thoughts about the cook and the host. This is a good rule to follow whether you eat your desserts first or at the end of the meal. Make a commitment to say and do as many positive things as you can today. Be tender, loving, appreciative, and grateful. As they say, if you cannot say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
Here’s wishing a relationally positive, bonding, and gratitude-filled Thanksgiving holiday to one and all!