I love the fall. Personally, I’m a sun-seeker, so the summer and I get along great, but I also love the crisp air, the changing of the leaves, and the symbolism of autumn. As a yoga teacher, I often remind those in my classes to live with gratitude all year round, but with the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, we’re extra aware of it this time of year.
No one can argue that it’s more important to focus on the things we do have in our lives, versus focusing on the things we don’t have in our lives. We’re a culture that’s obsessed with wanting what we don’t have, so of course, it’s important to look around at all our blessings and live with gratitude. We’re also all aware that nothing lasts forever, and yet, we still take things for granted and make long-term assumptions, such as thinking we’ll always be healthy, that person will be around forever, etc.
Sure, we can assume there will be plenty more family meals and friendly gatherings, and we can assume we’ll live long and strong for the majority of our years, but what if things were to change, as they inevitably will? It causes us to be more mindful and present in the moments most important to us. It causes us to embrace the things we have and the love the people in our lives, so that when things change, we know we enjoyed them and loved fully.
What if we were to see the beauty in perishability, just like the trees that shed their leaves? We could see the symbolism of delighting in the things we know will eventually go away.
How can you appreciate your body and life more right now – no matter what shape, size, health, or transition you’re in – simply because you know that it won’t be this way forever? How can you treat your body with more respect, or take better care of yourself?
How can you be more mindful in daily life? How can you listen more closely, slow down, and engage more with those closest to you?
When you’re enjoying your Thanksgiving dinner, rather than thinking something like “I’m going to have to work this off later,” or being irritated with that family member, or checking your phone, why not switch your thoughts to “I have no idea what next year’s Thanksgiving dinner will be like… I am so grateful for this, and I want to be present to absorb every memory in this moment.”
Ask yourself this:
If you woke up tomorrow morning with only the things you were thankful for today… what would you have left?
Just like the seasons, everything changes. Just like the leaves, everything goes away. Embrace each moment. See the beauty of perishability for the opportunities to live in the present and love fully.