Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Staying Civil: Gratitude and Visioning

Throughout the past years, I've been amazed to find out that people seem to move in circles where everyone's politics are just like their own.  Really?  My own family of origin was deeply divided, and during my undergrad years, my father and I had fierce arguments about the way the U.S.S.R. really felt about the U.S., about who had a better record on human rights--and for the record, my dad was right, and I was a bratty know-it-all who was wrong.

Thanksgiving can be the kind of holiday that brings together people of vastly different mindsets, and I would offer my grandmother's advice to never talk about religion, politics, or money around a dinner table. 

You might then ask, "Well, what should we talk about?"

There's the obvious:  what are we grateful for?  But in these times when so many of us feel wounded by the recent political campaign season, maybe we need a question that allows us to go deeper.  So how about this one:  "What's been going right for you in the past year?"  or "What are the best 5 things that happened to you this past year?"

I also like my family's tradition from years ago, before we started gathering as an extended family.  During a time when we seemed to move a lot, we'd often say, "Where do you think we'll be a year from now?"  It was fun to dream.

We're in a time period now where many of us need to remember to dream again.  We need to flex those visioning muscles.  Where do we want to be a year from now, 5 years from now, 10 years from now?

Psychologists, life coaches, and others who work in fields of human behavior would tell us that our visions will be more powerful if we write them down.  So once we've had the discussions about our hopes, once Thanksgiving dinner and clean up is done, write down those visions.  Perhaps you could also draw some images or find some in magazines.  Make a vision board, which is a fancy way of saying take a bigger piece of paper or poster board and put those images on it.  Put it where you'll see it.

And in a year, revisit it all--each year I go back through blog posts, and I smile to remember my gratitude posts from past years.  I look at my goals that I post periodically, and I reflect on how I've met them or not.  I say a prayer of thanks to God or the universe or our collective consciousness or my higher purpose or whatever makes progress forward possible. 

It's a good spiritual practice to keep us grounded.

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