Finding Goodness, Gratitude, and Grace

Happy Thanksgiving week!

November is moving faster than I remember it in previous years. I feel caught between wanting time to slow down and wishing for a different kind of days in which chaos, uncertainty, fear, and anxiety do not lurk behind every news headline.

Still, Thanksgiving is upon us, gently reminding us that even in the darkest days, there is light, hope, and much to be grateful for.

Maybe this stark contrast between chaos and celebration is what makes us pause, look closely at everything we can be grateful for, and not take it for granted.

Thanksgiving is a seasonal ritual. It allows us to celebrate the end of the harvest season by coming together around the dinner table to break bread and practice unity and gratitude.

Rituals define and support our life and seasonal transitions.

Michael Meade talks about how “rituals help us release the burdens of our lives while connecting our minds to our hearts in ways that reduce fear and anxiety and ease the grief of isolation.”

In preparation for Thanksgiving, we clean our homes, plan the menu, shop, cook up a storm, set a festive table, and, finally, open our doors to welcome our loved ones.

We break bread and share warmth, love, laughter, and memories. We catch up with each other’s lives and recharge our hearts for the cold days ahead.

True, everything may not go according to plan. There may be some family drama and challenging weather patterns that make traveling long distances stressful. The people who carry the weight of preparation will be tired, for sure.

Yet, there is something special about the whole process. There is beauty and grace in our willingness to give ourselves to this ritual and offer the best we can to each other.

You may not realize it at first, but what you create for that evening is a safe sanctuary for everyone to enjoy.

Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things come together and live together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is a privilege; that we are miraculously part of something, rather than nothing. Even if that something is temporarily pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of the fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape.

David Whyte from Consolations

I hope you can find goodness, gratitude, and grace as you prepare for your Thanksgiving celebration. Whether you are part of a large or small gathering, do not underestimate the power of your efforts and offering.

I hope you will let this week’s spirit help you unplug from the waves of chaos and uncertainty.

I hope you can extend the same loving care to yourself that you extend to others.

My gift to you is the following exercise. You can begin by giving yourself a few minutes to pause and reflect on the following statements. Pay attention to what comes up, and let that awareness guide you through the week.

I feel happy and at peace when …
I feel energized when …
I feel safe and comforted when I am surrounded by…

I am grateful for …
I choose to see beyond the obvious and see the goodness in …

Enjoy and have a beautiful and loving Thanksgiving!

With love and gratitude, always!



  • Linda Samuels

    Thanksgiving and November, for that fact, snuck up on me quickly. Now, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and December is soon approaching. It’s one busy, party-filled season. I enjoy the gatherings and the quiet that winter and cold weather bring. And I am navigating that dance between celebrating and turning inwards.

    I am so grateful for my family and friends like you, dear Yota. I am grateful for a place to live that I love, that gives me energy and brings me peace. I am grateful for food, heat, hot water, and clothing to keep me warm. I am thankful for the time with my friends, like our recent wonderful lunch together. I am grateful to love and be loved.

    I recognize that not all corners of this world are at peace. My heart has a hard time reconciling the big differences between having enough and not, between being calm and being at war, between feeling safe and feeling persecuted.

    It’s a big wish, but I wish for peace, understanding, compassion, and generosity in a world that needs it—a pipe dream, perhaps, but a much-needed wish.

    • Yota Schneider

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I love how you recognize the opposing energies that shape our daily lives while walking the fine path between goodness, gratitude, and chaos with an open heart.
      As for your big wish … pipe dream or not … it is, as you say, a much-needed wish. We must try and play our part in making this wish come true. Small, maybe seemingly insignificant steps, holding on to hope, keeping an open mind, and making daily deposits of compassion and peace in this unseen, universal bank account that hopefully will, at some point, begin to pay dividends.
      I am grateful for your friendship and generous heart.
      Enjoy the season and your dance between celebrating and turning inward. 💖

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