Friday, November 25, 2016

Reflections on the Day After: Why Thanksgiving is Decidedly My Favorite Holiday

Who doesn’t love a day off of work, time spent with loved ones, and a delicious meal?  All things to be grateful for and a wonderful way to celebrate, for sure!  But they’re not unique. As enjoyable and truly special as they may be, we do similar things on other holidays and occasions as well.  The dishes may change, and the people we’re with may vary a bit, but these general aspects of the Thanksgiving holiday are common among our various celebrations throughout the year.

At one point in the day yesterday, it just hit me. Thanksgiving has got to be my favorite of them all. For me, two unique things about this day really make my heart smile.

For one thing, Thanksgiving is a day that we can all share. It’s not a religious holiday that by definition involves only a portion of the population. Furthermore, even more shared than Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or other non-religious occasions like Valentine’s Day and the like, Thanksgiving is a simple but distinctive celebration, with nothing* but love and gratitude as its focus. We can all join in, and how awesome is that?

(*Note: I’m going to ignore here the fact that as something relatively new, stores are now opening on Thanksgiving and people are actually out in them. Personally, I still choose not to join in. Many people, I know, likewise feel the same, but whether you like it or love it, let’s not bring that in here as a point of contention.)

Now, the other thing I love about Thanks-giving… is the giving of thanks! I’ve always loved that, but this year I appreciated it even more than ever before. My husband I have a tradition of spending a number of hours on Thanksgiving day, reaching out to friends and loved ones to give them our good wishes. It’s great to hear from so many and to catch up with some whom we haven’t connected with in in a long time. This year, however, instead of just calling or writing to say “Happy Thanksgiving” and to enjoy the many conversations, we actually stopped to really tell people how much they meant to us, to share with them our gratitude for we what appreciated in them, and to thank them for ways they had been there for us throughout the year.

The impact on me was significant.  My heart truly felt happy to connect with so many in a vibration of warmth and love.  It feels so awesome to let people know they are appreciated, and connecting in that way with people from all different parts of our lives is really special. Adding to that my general thoughts and reflections, throughout the day, about various reasons for which I feel so blessed, I literally started feeling grateful for gratitude itself.

As I connected with even more individuals through the medium of social media, I also found the wave of positive thoughts, thanksgiving wishes, and expressions of thankfulness to be so truly refreshing. We have spent so many weeks in this country enduring a heightened division among us that it felt so good to see and feel something welcomingly different. For at least a day, we shared a vibration of joy and thanksgiving.

Gratitude is something we talk about so much in Spiritism. We know conceptually that it is a source of both nourishment and healing for our souls. Still, when we stop to cultivate it and enjoy it as we may do on days like Thanksgiving, we realize how powerful it really is. It then becomes strikingly evident how important it is for us to exercise and express gratitude not just on a dedicated holiday but as much as possible all throughout the year.


Having said all the above, I must add one more thing. I want to acknowledge that for a good number of people the holidays are trying times, including Thanksgiving.  Even when feeling grateful for acknowledged blessings, many find themselves - around the holidays in particular - reminded of losses, difficulties, or loved ones missed so dearly. Others may be prompted to reflect on their lives and for one reason or another find themselves burdened by regrets.  And of course many struggle, whether it be to make ends meet or to simply make it through the day.  If you count yourself among them, I am thinking of you as well, and I have you in my prayers. My heart goes out to those who are hurting, and I ask that in our vibrations of gratitude and love, we remember and extend our giving hearts and hands to those who need the kindness and compassion and of others.  

I likewise pray that for the well-being of our nation, we can keep alive any healthy and vibrations that may have been kindled over this Thanksgiving weekend. For our world as a whole, I pray for peace. Finally, I extend my sincere appreciation to all those who are doing what they can to cultivate respect and care for all individuals, as well as for the environment we share and will one day leave for generations to come. To all doing their best to be make a impact in this world, I thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and God bless.

Thank you for reading!
Blessings to all, today and always

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Taking A Step Back to Gather Perspective and Push Forward.

Ahhhhh, Spiritism…  the science, philosophy, and moral compass that I love so much and from which I have drawn strength and understanding on countless occasions. Where would I be today if were not for this blessing in my life?!  I don’t know, but one thing I am absolutely sure of is my immense gratitude for the opportunity to acquire this knowledge. 

There are times in life when something unexpected seems to hit us from “out of nowhere” - at least from nowhere within the range of our expectations. Whether disruptive acts of Mother Nature, unforeseen circumstances of life that leave us with a feeling of loss, or other events spawned by what strikes us as shocking choices, attitudes or behaviors of our fellow human beings, such events leave us bewildered, asking questions, perhaps making demands. In some cases, we may even find ourselves in a state of anger or fear. 

For some given period of time, a blow like this may threaten to knock us off balance, and it is not until time, faith, reasoning, an open mind, the compassion of others, personal resilience, or any combination of the above helps us to find our “center” that we press forward, with relative equilibrium. In these moments, we should turn to the resources that help us to do just that, and for me Spiritism is one of them.  

To me, it seems that only from the perspective of the immortal soul do certain things stand even a chance of making any sense, as painful as they may still be to endure. That said, it’s not simply that we are immortal. It is that life itself is multi-dimensional and that this particular material lifetime is but one of many - just a spec on the radar of our spiritual existence. Reincarnation is the key to understanding so much about life; but again, reincarnation, alone, is still not enough. The key is that we are evolving, each and every one of us. We are simultaneously on both our individual pathways and a greater, shared journey. 

This is, in part, why we have so much in common and, at the same time, so many differences. It also helps to explain why our collective progress is only a reflection of where we are as an entire group of diverse individuals, including both ends of any spectrum, no matter what aspect or characteristic we chose to measure. This was one of the thoughts behind the following statement I posted on Facebook last week.

I understand, however, that understanding a statement like the one above is probably not something that will happen without some background and foundation in the general principles of Spiritism. A true understanding, to the point of drawing strength and courage from such a concept, will likely only come through some amount of time spent actually studying and reflecting on the teachings found throughout Spiritist literature.

This is why I was so thankful, yesterday, to see this presentation which I’m sharing with you here since the recording is already available. If you are rather new to Spiritism, this video will give you a chance to see and hear some information and clarifications that may serve as at least one source of calmness in a moment of chaos, light in a space of darkness, or hope in a time of doubt or worry. If it at all resonates with you, then I would encourage you to explore further into Spiritism

For those who are already Spiritist, there are some great reminders here that help us to gather our thoughts and regain footing when we stumble over unseen obstacles inherent to a world in our planet’s current stage of spiritual transformation.

Experience of Immortality in Times of Transition
- Suzana Simoes

This timely presentation captures the essence of Spiritism so as to demonstrate just how Spiritism affords us invaluable insights on life and the process of transformation, and it calls upon us to put that knowledge into action.  

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Let us not become paralyzed, but mobilized. This is not “religious talk”. Nor is it ignorance. Likewise, it is neither blind faith nor a deaf ear. It is the application of an informed and rational faith to make sense of the world and to find the hope and courage to be that which we desire to see in the world around us.  

Don’t take my word for it. Check out the video.

Thank you for reading!
Blessings to all, today and always