Won’t you join me Thanksgiving 2020? 

Like most everyone else’s T-Day plans, ours have been revised twice in the last 3 months based on the spread of Covid19. Typically, we would be traveling to a big family gathering in Chicago with enough food to feed a small army, mouthwatering treats and robust conversations. Two months ago, we simplified that plan to staying with my 91-year-old Aunt to celebrate a much-toned down day and give her healthcare workers the day off. Last week, we called her to share that we were not comfortable putting her (and us) at risk based on the recommendations of infectious disease doctors and the rapid rise of infections and hospitalizations in both states.  We had not missed a year since the late 70’s. Now what? For my immediate family, the Chicago gathering has always been more anticipated than Christmas because of the comradery of all the cousins, conversations and activities. This year, it is just the 2 of us. Doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving. It feels like a loss of connection with family and others. The question became: Could we create that feeling of real thanks and community that we have gotten EVERY Thanksgiving despite Covid19?  The answer is a resounding YES.  

The glue to our Thanksgiving has always been in the act of sharing, caring and getting caught up. It’s just going to look different this year with only the 2 of us.  

We have decided to share our gratitude and put it in action. I have reached out to my single and fragile clients and a couple of elderly people we know from church asking if they have family support and a prepared meal on Thanksgiving Day. My husband and I will be making a large meal that we can package up and deliver fresh and with smiles and a check in.  

This simple act is very empowering and takes the sting out of not having our traditional day. We will still have plenty of time to Skype, Facetime & call our extended family across the miles; and we will feel fulfilled in our efforts by bringing joy and hope to those outside our typical circleI also hope to put a few bags together for any homeless we might encounter on our delivery route. 

So, if your Thanksgiving isn’t going to look anything like your original plans and you are feeling depressed or out of sorts, won’t you join me in looking for those outside of your typical circle and see how you can support them with a meal, special treat or a checkin call?  Imight make all the difference to them and it could allow you to connect to your community in a new deeper way. I wish you a fulfilling Thanksgiving experience. 

It’s Time To Let It Go  

As so many, during Covid19, we have been streamlining our home environment. I asked my husband a few weeks ago what he was willing to let go. What you have to know about my husband is that he is meticulous in his care of things. Everything is in like-new condition.  

One of the things he offered was a beautiful high-end juicer. Clean and in the box with the original packaging, recipe book and original cash register receipt. I remember when we were together at Costco and he got it. It was a quality product at a great price and would help support a healthy lifestyle. I agreed. But because it took a lot of space and he traveled for work quite a bit, it was kept in the basement.  You can see the upshot coming I think he used it twice.  

 The good news is that it was easy to list on a local sales app as I had everything needed to make a beautiful and visually compelling listing. The challenging news is that it sold for only 25% of the original purchase price.  The surprising news was what I saw on the receipt before I handed off the box to the happy new owner: I finally looked at the purchase date. January 10, 2010. It has literally been taking up valuable storage space for more than a decade. Where did that time go???? If you had asked me to approximate the purchase date, I would have said maybe 5 or 6 years.  

 My point is that time goes more quickly than we think, and we often allow things to stay in our lives long past their usefulness to us. Some of my clients have difficulty letting go of items they have bought or acquired because the items are still ‘good’ or ‘useful’.   

 Life gets better and more refined when we have the clarity to let go of the things that take space and are not actively adding benefit to our lives. We buy something thinking it’s a great idea, but it turns out that the idea was better than the reality. When that happens, can you revisit those items and make a new decision to let them go regardless of the purchase price?  

 My husband (fiancée at the time) spent $100, used the item only twice yet continued to house it for more than a decade. This is not about him making a poor decision or leading a unhealthy lifestyle. It was a ‘close to home’ aha moment for me. A decade of nonuse on the shelves I often walk past. It tied up money, space and time without benefit to ANYONE. We had literally stopped seeing it on the shelf. When we really looked at it again, we were good to let it go to someone who would actually put it to use. If it did not sell within another week, we were both willing to donate it to get our space back and free up our minds.  

 We have not stopped there. Don and I have been reviewing a number of idle items and we are successfully posting and parting with outdated things. We feel great and are looking to further simplify. Sometimes it is difficult in the moment but once you embrace keeping only what supports the lifestyle and activities that you are working toward, it is freeing and money saving. I hope this encourages you to reevaluate your possessions and to let things go that are no longer a good fit.  Remember, it’s not about if the item still has value or is useful. It’s about how those items are actually serving you. Remove the guilt and set your sights on a brighter future. Re-home those things that no longer are used or loved. If you need help, connect, I’m WithinReach.biz  

Won’t you join me tonight?

I decided to share a post I wrote on the local neighborhood Nextdoor app on November 3, 2020. It has generated more positive reaction than any other post the Neighborhood Lead had ever seen. So far, 269 people have positively reacted to and it has generated 43 comments and private messages. Though the post focused on 1 night and a particular event, the universal message is that you always have the choice to do your best and then give yourself the permission and grace to let it go and move forward with a plan. This is about empowerment over the long haul. I hope it gives you a chance to pause, refresh and refocus.

Won’t you join me tonight?

I have done all I can do. For the first time ever, I put signs in my yard, I wrote to 31 senators across the USA, gave to critical campaigns across the USA, participated in town halls, did a lot of reading, volunteered to work the polls and I voted. I have no control of what happens tonight other than in my own household. It is time to reset and center.

I bought steak and fresh veggies to create a wonderful comfort meal. My husband and I will make dinner together, share a special glass of wine and listen to music that uplifts us. After that we will share our intentions for the next 4 years regardless of who is in office. We will share what we are grateful for this year and give thanks for the blessings we have been given. After 8pm, we will go out and remove all the political signs that have graced our yard these past many weeks. We will be ready to move forward, come what may because we will be stronger in each other and we will have some basic plans in place. We choose peace and forward action vs. chaos and anger.

You can do the same. Reset and center. It may be a bumpy road ahead and you will be better able to cope having taken the evening for yourself and your loved ones. This might be even more important if you are alone. Reset and center. It is a gift you can give yourself but you have to choose it.

I thought I would also share 2 responses that really resonated with me – one was a public comment and the other one was a private message: “What a beautiful reminder that we are all in control of how we approach our lives”.

“I never post publicly on this app. I’m more of a silent observer and prefer to stay anonymous. But after months of being witness to the back and forth of all sides, I was immensely stressed out, worried and fretting about the political, social, and cultural landscape of our country. So like you, I did my part.

After returning home from voting today I came across your post and it actually moved me to tears. I just had to reach out to you to say thank you for sharing something truly neutral and peaceful.

I don’t know who you are or which signs you had in your yard, but I’ve been thinking about you both and what you said all evening. So tonight I think I’ll have a glass of wine too. And I think I’ll toast to you and your husband for sharing an insight that touched me deeply.

You reminded me of something I read recently that said not to panic about things largely out of our control, our real power lies in the decisions each of us make every day. Thank you for deciding to share a way forward. In Gratitude,”

So, I hope that my sharing this post brings you hope and a deeper sense of peace and grounding. It’s one day at a time for all of us. In service, Mary