Coming “home” for Thanksgiving

“I’ve learned that home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.”—Cecelia Ahearn

Coming “home” for Thanksgiving can be celebrated in many ways—from joyously sharing food in large gatherings to entertaining with a select few.

Different emotional needs emerge, depending upon our life circumstances. Some may enjoy the company of new extended families. Others prefer sitting quietly in front of a crackling fire, with a journal or a book, finding respite and comfort in making the holiday their own private day of gratitude.

Then there are the bereaved, who can be in a crowded room yet feel alone as they silently grieve the loss of a loved one who will not be sitting at the dining room table this year. Or, there are those who are missing family and friends who are far away.

Crying is okay; it’s normal to miss those we love. To pretend otherwise by repressing emotions can cause anxiety. Set aside time ahead to feel your feelings may help ease the pain before entering a gathering. I have my own ritual for dealing with sad feelings of loss on holidays. I spend a few quiet moments placing my hand over my heart, sending love and prayers to those I cannot be with for whatever reason. I then wait in silence, slowly and sometimes deeply, feeling the connection to them with pure unconditional love.

No matter where we find ourselves in life, the deeper calling during the holidays is often to find a way to center in ourselves amongst all the activities, personalities and expectations.

Here are some ideas for connecting to the home within you to embrace the holiday with a greater sense of fulfillment:

  • Set your own intentions for honoring the ways you feel grateful this Thanksgiving. Is there a random act of kindness you could do that may fill you up more than the food on your plate? Is there someone who could benefit from hearing from you?
  • Pace yourself according to your temperament. Extroverts gain energy from other people, often relishing all the socializing. Introverts often require alone time to recharge after being with people for long periods of time, particularly large crowds.
  • Choose to extend love and acceptance, versus judgment, to those placed before you. Panache Desai says it best: “Accepting the perceived imperfections of others is accepting the perfection of life.” The Course in Miracles urges us to look within when we are tempted to judge, claiming, “When we see others we do not love, we are seeing parts of ourselves that we reject.”
  • Be kind to yourself, greeting the day with joy and compassion for the moments before you no matter how they unfold.
  • Let go of the holiday script and make new memories of gratitude.
  • Spend time in nature, which is calming.
  • Give someone a hug, share a laugh, and say thank you to life.

No matter where you find yourself this Thanksgiving, remember this longing for authenticity we often share:
“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” – Maya Angelou

Happy Thanksgiving.

With gratitude and blessings,


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