What if the question is not why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am?
-Oriah Mountain Dreamer
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving. This is a week when we gather together with friends and family. We share a plentiful meal, and we are called to examine our lives and count our blessings.
This is the Hallmark Card version.
There are many who find this week very challenging. They struggle because they are hungry, maybe because they have food issues and dread being around tempting foods, because they are alone or have recently lost a loved one, or perhaps all the family togetherness is a bit stressful. And for many communities across the nation, this is a time of mourning and sadness, following incidents in Ferguson, Missouri.
And, their anguish isn’t made any easier by pictures of happy families eating turkey plastered on magazine covers and by well-meaning, but glib, messages about gratitude!
This is something I’ve always struggled with: trying to find a balance between gratitude, because I know that I am truly blessed, and allowing myself permission to struggle with my current predicament.
Recently, I came across this beautiful quote by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, and immediately it all seemed to make sense. I realized that I had been approaching the issue the wrong way. The problem wasn’t the way I felt; the problem was that I thought there was a problem! I had thought it was “wrong” to struggle, to have negative feelings. I realized I had deeply ingrained ideas about what I was supposed to feel and who I was supposed to be. And what it came down to was that I felt that who I was just wasn’t enough.
I realized that I am enough—right now, with all the feelings, struggles, predicaments. I stopped trying to “do”, and allowed myself to “be”. I allowed thoughts and feelings to surface, and like clouds, I watched them come and go, without judgment or criticism. And, a huge burden was lifted. It wasn’t that the negativity went away, but my need to be anything other than me went away.
Ask yourself Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s question, “Why do I so infrequently want to be the person I already am?” And add to that, “Why do I so infrequently allow myself to feel what I feel?”
On this Thanksgiving, perhaps you can be thankful for YOU—for your beautiful, courageous, inquisitive, fearless self. Perhaps you can be thankful that you are here, that you’ve come to add your special brand of spice to the mix. You are enough, right now. Let it all be.
Here is a Thanksgiving Meditation exercise: