As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, we are prompted to consider the parts of our lives that we feel grateful to experience. We call to mind our family, our friends, a full belly, as well as all the gifts and opportunities that have come our way.
This reflection helps us to recognize that we all have full lives. Those lives have brought us many memories to fill our hearts. Some of these memories make us smile or laugh, because a loved one shared a precious moment with us. Other memories are heavier, those stories of our lives that took a turn in a different direction than we had hoped. These heavy stories can stay in our hearts for many years, blocking our ability to feel the fun and warmth of new experiences.
Fortunately, we are able to release these heavy stories. In the same way that we clean our houses, we need to tend to our hearts, to sweep them clean and to discard what we no longer need to carry. Clearing out our hearts makes room for gratitude to happen. Doing so starts by acknowledging which heavy stories we are carrying. As that story surfaces, we can identify why the story is stuck in our hearts. Once the sticking point is found, there is an opportunity to make peace with the painful memory, to set it free, and to make room to feel thankful for the good things in our lives. Perhaps you even have an empathic friend to hold your hand as you let go of the old and invite the new.
Make room in your heart before the holiday season so that when you sit down at a table with your family and friends, you will feel the gentle expansion of gratitude in your chest with each laugh, each bite of food, and every warm embrace.