Being thankful is more top of mind at this time of year, with the Thanksgiving holiday just days away. It is great to see more people shift to incorporate gratitude into their lives. Unfortunately, it quite often is overshadowed by all of the planning, cooking, gatherings and rushing around to make it all happen. And “giving thanks” usually fades to the background again as the shopping frenzy begins. What an amazing boost we would give to the energy of the world if everyone used this Thanksgiving as the day to begin a daily practice of mindful gratitude.
What we focus on expands, so if we focus on all of the blessings in our lives and all that we are grateful for, we can bring more of what we desire into our world. My husband and I have been participating in Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge focused on abundance, with guided meditations each day. Today is day 16, and the centering thought for today is “Today, I remember to be grateful.” I had been thinking about writing about Thanksgiving earlier today, and today’s meditation gave me the nudge to do so. In the meditation, Deepak says, “When you feel gratitude, your ego steps out of the way enabling you to enjoy greater love, compassion and understanding. Genuine gratitude is also one of the most powerful ways to invite more goodness into our lives. It’s as if you are saying to the universe, “please bring me more of this.”" Establishing a daily gratitude practice can be immensely supportive of your goals and dreams. Starting a gratitude journal, daily meditations focused on gratitude or simply just remembering what you are grateful for at the end of each day before you go to sleep can all help you to establish an attitude of gratitude in your daily life.
Here are some things that I am grateful for today. I am so very grateful for my loving, supportive best friend and husband, Chris, for my sweet babies, Charlie and Sadie, for my family, friends, coworkers and all of the people that touch my life each day. I am very grateful for my health, my job, financial stability, having a nice place to call home by the ocean in warm and sunny California. I am grateful for the ability to practice yoga daily, and for the ability to start training to be a teacher in January. I am immensely grateful that I have the means to travel, especially to Bimini in the Bahamas next month for 12-21-12, and then to Philly to be with my family and friends for Christmas. I am grateful that we have the flexibility to move and live where our hearts call us to be so that Kaua’i will be our home next year. I am grateful that I am able to share my gratitude with you, as well as inspire gratitude in others.
Thanksgiving day is also special for us because two years ago, on Thanksgiving Day, we moved to Huntington Beach. We got into town late and thought for sure that we would be piecing together some random food options for dinner from WalMart (the only store that was open at the time). The movers would not be delivering all of our possessions and furniture for another week so we arrived to an empty apartment with our suitcases, an air mattress and bedding, our cats, cat food and a litter box. It was kind of like camping, except we didn’t have coolers full of food and drinks and a campfire to keep us warm. The heat wasn’t working, which normally wouldn’t matter, but unfortunately we had arrived at an unusually cold time in Southern California. It was an adventure to say the least! On our way to the store to pick up some essentials, we saw that the lights were still on at Bodhi Tree, a vegan restaurant that we had read about online. We both were SO hopeful that maybe they were still open and we could eat some real food. We walked in and saw that the restaurant was closed and they were dismantling their huge Thanksgiving buffet. The owners were so amazing and welcoming and without a second thought, they sat us at a table, and began to bring us two of everything that they had served on their plentiful buffet. The food was amazing! They had ham, turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy, this amazing maple butter that we wanted to put on everything, stuffing, veggies, soups, salads and so many delicious desserts! Their compassion and kindness that night has stayed with us to this day, and we are forever grateful. To show our thanks and support because of their generosity, we have made going to Bodhi Tree our Thanksgiving tradition. The menu for this year has us both so excited!!!
There are so many amazing options out there for anyone who doesn’t have the luxury of a vegan menu at a local restaurant or wants to cook a compassionate Thanksgiving dinner at home. Giving thanks for all of the beautiful animals and honoring them by having a plant-based celebration is quite easy AND delicious! I’ve even been thinking of making our own Thanksgiving dinner the day after Thanksgiving since so many of these recipes are too delicious looking to not be cooking. Haha that rhymes. Here are some of my favorite resources this year for a compassionate, gratitude-filled and YUMMY Thanksgiving!
- Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Thanksgiving video “A Vegan Thanksgiving”
- Recipes from Chloe Coscarelli, featured in “A Vegetarian Thanksgiving Table” in the New York Times
- Amazing holiday recipes and tips on how to navigate Thanksgiving as a Vegan from Angela at Oh She Glows
- Thanksgiving recipes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Post Punk Kitchen
- Yummy dessert recipes and more at YumUniverse
- 15 vegan Thanksgiving desserts from Alicia Silverstone / The Kind Life
- Vegan and raw vegan Thanksgiving recipes from Gena Hamshaw / Choosing Raw
- More yummy dessert recipes in the New York Times (including some from “Chloe’s Vegan Desserts” which doesn’t come out until February!)
And, to top it all off, the day after Thanksgiving will be our three year vegan anniversary! YAY! We also adopted a turkey from Farm Sanctuary again this year. His name is Skip.
Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions or daily practices that help you to keep the attitude of gratitude front and center in your life?