Does all this talk about being thankful on Thanksgiving start to feel phony?
Why should we just feel thankful on Thanksgiving? Why should we only focus on “Peace on Earth” on Christmas? Why should we only celebrate our mothers on Mother’s Day?
Of course, we shouldn’t limit our love and gratitude to special days.
However, I actually believe it’s helpful to have a day set aside to remind us of the importance of the things we truly value.
We can sail right through these special days at the superficial level — focusing on overeating, over-consuming alcohol, over-scheduling, over-buying, and over-exhausting ourselves.
But the invitation is there within these special days for us to reflect — to evaluate our lives, celebrate what we truly value, and re-think how we are living our lives. And it’s a good time to bring our actions into alignment with our values. We don’t HAVE to do everything “the way we’ve always done it” or “the way everyone else is doing it.”
This is a great opportunity to choose consciously, intentionally, and lovingly. This is a time to think for ourselves instead of letting tradition and marketing overrule our values and our common sense.
This Thanksgiving, I’m truly grateful that each of us has the power to change the world.
We all know that we’re living in times of great change and great challenge. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, pessimistic and even fatalistic, and hopeless. Or we may try to pull the proverbial cover over our heads and pretend that we’re going to wake up one morning and miraculously, someone has “fixed it” and we’ll somehow be back to a time when things were better or easier.
Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. Which do you want first? ? ?
Let’s start with the bad news. It ain’t gonna happen. We are never going to go back in time to when things seemed better. And there’s not someone else who can fix it for us. This is not a top-down job. We can’t just wait it out and things will be miraculously better.
But before you find a bridge to jump off of, let me give you the good news!
The good news is that we don’t NEED to wait for someone else to fix things. WE are the ones we’ve been waiting for, and WE can change the world, every single day, with the choices that we, personally, make in our lives.
It’s hard, and even scary, to realize how powerful we are. We so often think our day-to-day choices don’t matter to anyone but ourselves. But every snowfall is composed of individual snowflakes, which pile up. They can create beautiful landscapes and they can block traffic. And yet, each snowflake seems so small and insignificant. Significance is created by piling up lots of little things that seem insignificant.
I choose to be vegan for many reasons. And as it turns out, this is one of the most powerful choices a person can make. I’m so grateful that this simple choice to eat only plants has provided me with many years of excellent health.
I’m also so grateful that an estimated 406 animals are not killed each year because of my choice. (http://www.countinganimals.com/how-many-animals-does-a-vegetarian-save/) That adds up to over 9000 animals since I became vegan. Wow! What an easy way to save animals!
We also know that animal agriculture contributes to more global warming than all forms of transportation combined. (http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1839995,00.html). So my vegan diet is reducing my carbon footprint in a significant way. I’m very grateful for that!
When you multiply the effects of my own choices by the growing numbers of people who are choosing to be vegan, we see it all adds up to changing the world, one person at a time. (By the way, did you hear that Al Gore is now vegan? ? ?)
Our food choices are only one way we can change the world. There are many others. But since we eat every single day, several times each day, our food choices have more impact than most others.
In my experience, every single one of us wants our life to contribute positively to the world. No one wants to think they are doing things that are harming others. We are born with a built-in sense of compassion and ethics.
So I invite you to use Thanksgiving, and every special day, as an opportunity to reflect. To see how well your choices are in alignment with your values. And to adjust your actions as needed. This is about making conscious choices, not just doing things because you’ve always done them or because others are doing them.
The good news is that your conscious choices, no matter how small, make a difference. And since you are not alone, your healthy and compassionate choices will pile up with those of every other person making these kinds of choices to change the world for the better.
I’d love to hear how your holiday choices have evolved over time. Please share!