It was my third year in America when my son Nicolas was attending preschool. One day in November he came home and said to me, “Mommy on Thanksgiving we eat turkey.” That year was my first Thanksgiving celebration and soon my sister, and only close relative in America then, joined in on all the Thanksgiving traditions. We, too, were using the time off to be together and create memories.
That is what is so special about Thanksgiving: The getting together of families.
The family gatherings where I come from tended to occur, unfortunately, through funerals. That is why I am so grateful this year to see my sons and my first granddaughter, my sister and her family, in a setting of celebration. That is a tradition I will maintain: Sharing and moving forward together as a family – two things to be so grateful for.
Gratitude, I would define as the appreciation of Life, the appreciation of the things we might otherwise take for granted.
Growing up in a religious family, I felt my father gave away much more money to the church than he did to us children. This instilled a deep sense of service to others in me, as well as a recognition of all the things I have. I think that is the reason why my mission, my purpose in life, is to help people discover that they will be happier if they appreciate all of the little blessings in their lives – in other words, to empower themselves.
The hurricane reaffirmed to me that point.
What we perceive as a curse can just as easily be turned into a blessing. Like everyone else in lower Manhattan, I was without power. But I empowered myself; I spent some great moments getting to know myself, reflecting on myself and meditating. I wrote Thank You notes to the people I love and I went through my address book to see if there were any relationships that needed mending.
Likewise, my intention is to empower my yogis and my coachees to discover that they have the power to turn a situation around, from one that hurts to one that heals. To turn “I can’t!” into “I can!”
That is not possible without gratitude for the unnoticed, little things; without appreciating of the breath of life. As Meister Eckhart said:
“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘Thank you,’ that would suffice.”
This ThanksGiving, I invite you to share in my journey with an invigorating physical and spiritual two hour Meditation and Power Vinyasa Yoga Workshop at Dance Exposure II in Princeton.
You will leave feeling stronger, more flexible and energized, and most importantly—full of gratitude on this day of giving Thanks.