I was asked to be a speaker on Tuesday in my Toastmaster’s club. The topic—Thanksgiving, of course. I was contemplating what I would say that will have a different take, a fresh look, especially during these times where so many of us are going to spend Thanksgiving away from friends and family. This time only having our home-pod surround our table of celebration.
34 years ago, Thanksgiving holiday meant nothing to me.
Why? Because I did not celebrate it growing up in Israel. My Jewish version of Thanksgiving was Sukkot, the holiday of Booths, which we celebrate as fall begins. The idea of building temporary booths, as the Israelites did in the desert, placing full trust and confidence in the power that is outside of us, giving thanks and gratitude for the needed protection. And so we celebrate it nowadays. As the weather gets cooler, the leaves change their color from green to gold to vibrant red and eventually fall from the trees, when it is a bit chilly to sit outside, Jews are invited to do just that. Our task is to build unstable temporary structures and place our reliance, faith and trust on that which we do not see.
As I began to celebrate more Thanksgiving holidays with my American family, I discovered that indeed the American colonists based this holiday’s celebration on the biblical account of the holiday of Sukkot, borrowing the theme of gratitude.
Can you see gratitude? Can you feel it?
I believe that this year more than ever, gratitude is leaning heavily on being content with the present, the here and the now. Letting go of our human plans and expectations. Gratitude for me this year is about trusting the present and that which we do not see. Gratitude mixed with tremendous hope for better days.
Gratitude to opening my heart with love. Gratitude of my ability to love, to laugh and to embrace others.
What I have noticed is when I let go of my plans and expectations, I allow in something new, a fresh perspective. And that requires a choice. A shift in our existing view of the world and the people with whom we interact.
In my previous email I was talking about the shift that I needed to take so I could be more in my Positive Intelligence sage mode, (acting out of love, coming up with ideas and solutions) rather than allowing my saboteurs (my disappointment, resentment, fear) from taking over.
To the Hebrew language seekers out there, you know that I always refer to the Hebrew language to lead the way in my head, to open a new perspective in my heart and an A-ah moment in my mind. I do believe that this magnificent, language of essence is a treasure box full of new discoveries. And I play daily with this language, asking myself “What will come up for me today?”
Did you know that the words for plan and content share the same Hebrew root? The word for a plan is תוכנית tochnit, and the word for content is תוכן tochen. Whatever you plan, your vision for yourself, shows the essence, the content of what you do and who you are. Think of a tochnit– your plan as your outer self and your tochen– your contents as your insides. Our sages taught us the phrase tocho k’bor-o, meaning our outer appearance reflects our inner self…do you see how connected these words are?
The Hebrew word for expectation צפיות tzipiot and the word to view לצפות l’tzfot share the same Hebrew root. Whatever we expect is determined by how we view circumstances. If we expect negative situations to occur, this will be what we expect to see. It will manifest itself and become a self-fulfilling prophecy; If, on the other hand, we expect positivity, open mindedness and curiosity from ourselves, that is what we will end up finding. That is what we will see. This will be our view.
What do you want to view? What does your plan for yourself involve?
In order to experience a sense of gratitude we have to align our expectations with reality. The ability to feel content with the here and now. To acknowledge this present time and the hidden gifts within.
This year Thanksgiving celebration invites us to allow in new plans, new expectations, renewed gratitude and hope.
Are we up to it? Yes, I say!
Have a magnificent Thanksgiving celebration, with Turkey stuffing and home-made cranberry sauce, and pie. Yummy!