“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” ~Johannes A. Gaertner
Thanksgiving is one of the biggest family gathering days we have, so while the intention is closeness and love, the reality is often stress and upset. So what can you do differently this year? Add a little curiosity to the Thanksgiving menu.
The stress of Thanksgiving stems from built up hurts, from miscommunications, and past resentments. The way out of conflict is curiosity. Like light and dark, conflict and curiosity cannot occupy the same space at once. So this year uninvited conflict and invite curiosity.
Here are three steps to transforming your Thanksgiving celebration:
- Get Curious
The way to add curiosity to your holiday ritual is to ask questions. There are things that gripe you every year. You know what they are. So take a moment and make a list of them. Really write them out. If there is a boatload of them write down the top ten things that cause you holiday heartburn.
Ask questions about the things on your list. Act as if they used to upset you; like they are in the past. Today you just want to know more about them so you have a richer understanding.
So if your husband is from another culture and his parents always eat from the serving utensils, find out why instead of silently fuming each year. Ask about their celebration traditions, how they serve party food, and what customs they consider to be complementary.
In addition to asking everyone about their family traditions, ask what part of the holiday is most sacred to them. Are there special dishes that mean Thanksgiving to them? Are there rituals that are important to them? Dig deep and you might be amazed at the treasure you might find.
- Get Composed
Curiosity cannot flourish in a sea of judgment so slip into neutral gear. Suspend your ideas of “right” and “wrong” and just accept “what is”. If your brother is chronically late, accept that’s just who he is. Instead of getting upset or trying to accommodate, set a plan and go with it. If dinner is a 4pm then sit down at 4pm. If he arrives at 5:30pm he can eat then. It gives you all an excuse to linger at the table longer, which is where all the good conversation happens, so it’s really a gift!
- Get Crafty
Examine your set rituals. Do they all still feel right or is there room for improvement? Are there some you do just out of habit? Can they be tossed so new ones can be incorporated?
Especially after asking others what they do, are there some fresh ways you’d like to approach the holidays? Is there something you can do to help someone else feel welcomed and appreciated?
Ask yourself and see what comes up for you. Let go of your fear of change and really be open to the possibility of something better coming into your life.
“My favorite words are possibilities, opportunities and curiosity. I think if you are curious, you create opportunities, and then if you open the doors, you create possibilities.” ~ Mario Testino
November’s joy-full lesson is find joy in crafting your holiday any way you like. Too often we just do what we’ve always done and that leads to a rut. So shake something up this year. Allow curiosity to guide you in creating a Thanksgiving worthy of celebration.