Opening Our Eyes and Expanding Our Hearts

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November 22, 2012

Exhaustion. Frustration. Scrambling to get it all done. It’s hard to feel the gratitude when the kids are fighting, you’re still trying to send out those last emails, preparing food or packing up the family to head to Grandma’s. Then it’s on to the Holiday shopping list for a little Black Friday insanity. I find myself stopping for a second, and the big question kicks in.

What am I doing all this for? Because if it’s for family and loved ones, they are getting short changed by my mounting stress levels. And I’m feeling anything close to grateful in all that chaos.
Chrysula
How to simplify? How to stay focused on what matters most? After almost a year as community manager for the Million Moms Challenge, seeing the stories of the world’s women and children flow through this space, I find myself with a new awareness of things I might not have noticed before.

That helps me transcend the noise, all the things that went wrong yesterday, and the 25 things I didn’t get done. This community has opened my eyes and expanded my heart. As I get ready for our Thanksgiving meal, I look around my kitchen and notice:

  • the clean running water in my kitchen that’s so good to drink;
  • a safe stove and oven to use to cook Thanksgiving dinner for my family — without smoke or having to search for fuel;
  • an abundance of delicious and healthy food choices for our meal;
  • a reliable bright light source overhead and the consistent electricity that keeps it powered;
  • the phone number of the pediatrician’s office taped to my fridge just in case one of my kids has an emergency;
  • the keys to my minivan that has a full tank and can get us where ever we need to go, on roads that are generally smooth and safe;
  • the medicines high up on the cabinet in case of pain or infection.

It’s the simple and straightforward things that make my “stress” a bit laughable at times. I don’t mean it’s not real. Or even that it’s not valid. However, in the act of noticing the gifts in my kitchen, the door is opened to gratitude. And gratitude is the gateway to connection.

It’s the universal elements, the ties that bind us — not just to our families, friends and communities. It’s the connections to our fellow humans everywhere that make us who we are. It’s in the ways we take action for those we love. And those we would love if only we knew them.

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours. Chaos and all!

Chrysula

Join my family and me this Tuesday November 27th for the giving season’s opening day. Pick who you’re taking action for this #GivingTuesday. Choose from over 2,000 partner organizations or your own favorite cause and commit this Tuesday to giving back. #GivingTuesday is a new movement to encourage us all to give more, to give better and to give smarter.


Image credit: LaNola Kathleen Stone, used with permission.

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