Giving Thanks

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Happy Thanksgiving folks! Today is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I love the gathering of family and friends over delicious food. I love how everyone in my family contributes something to the meal. I love the two days I get off of work. I love how this weekend officially kicks off the holiday season. I love helping my parents decorate their house for the holidays. Most of all, I love the spirit and meaning around Thanksgiving.

What does this holiday mean to you? For me, it is a day of family, relaxation, fun and good food. But most importantly, it is a day to reflect and acknowledge what and who in my life I am thankful for. Personally, I don’t think I do this enough. It is easy to get swept up in the craziness that is my life and not express gratitude regularly to those things and people in my life that truly deserve it. While I love this holiday, I don’t think I should need a specific day to remind me to do this. It should be a regular thing that is just part of how I think and how I interact with those in my life who are important to me.

In an effort to bring the spirit of Thanksgiving to the forefront of my thoughts on a more regular basis, I have done a little soul searching and came up a list of the top ten who and what in my life that I am most thankful for.

  1. My Parents – My parents are amazing people and an inspiration to me on a daily basis. They met as teenagers and have been married for over 40 years. They drove me all over the country when I played soccer in my youth and never discouraged me from pursuing my dreams. They supported me when I decided to move to California and both flew out to help me move into and out of my apartment in San Francisco. They have been with me through my highs and lows and are always there to provide advice and/or a shoulder to cry on. They have been so encouraging of my desire to pursue my passion to become a holistic health coach. My dad sends me article ideas for this blog and my Facebook page and my mom and I have recently started exploring essential oils together.  I am so thankful that I am back on the same coast and living near them again.
  2. My Siblings – I am the baby girl of the family and grew up playing outside with my two older brothers. They taught me the meaning of friendship, loyalty, adventure, imagination and fun.  I remember jamming out to classic rock in car rides on the way to high school. I remember when they came home from college to surprise me for my 16th birthday.  I remember when they came to watch me win the state soccer championship in 11th grade. Now I have a new sister-in-law and couldn’t be happier. My brother picked a good one. The four of us cheer for different English Premier League clubs (Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United – we’ve got ‘em all covered), so it is always a good time when our teams play each other. I can’t wait to see what is in store for us in the years to come.
  3. My Extended Family – I have a large, loud, and extremely fun family. Most of my cousins are the same age as my brothers and I, so we all grew up together and have so many memories from when we would visit them all in upstate New York. Now a lot of these cousins are married and some have children of their own. It is fun to see them in these new roles; it makes me realize how far we’ve come. My aunts and uncles are each amazing individuals. They make me laugh, cry (in a good way), smile and feel loved. When they are around I’m normally not the loudest in the room!
  4. My Friends – I am the type of person who prefers to have a smaller group of close friends compared to a large number of acquaintances. I have known my best friend since 3rd grade.  She has been there for pretty much everything and sometimes I feel like she knows me better than I know myself. She has the best of advice for almost any situation and is always there to talk through my latest and greatest, normally over a glass of wine. She is my person.
  5. My Dog – Tucker is my four-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I never grew up with dogs and decided to get one after I got an intuitive feeling that it was what I needed in my life. I met him when he was about 6 weeks old, knew immediately he was the one and took him home only a few weeks later. Boy did I not know what I was getting myself into. We have come a long way in four years. I never knew that I could love something so much. He drives me crazy but is the brightest star in my day. He was my steadfast companion in California and is there to wag his tail and lick my face every day when I get home.
  6. My Body – If there is anything in my life that I do not appreciate enough, it is my body. I have struggled a lot with body image in the past ten years and have only realized lately how harsh and judgmental I am towards my body. It is not a skinny, model-like size 2. It is athletic and strong and powerful. My legs protected my knees and supported me through a soccer career that spanned 20 years. They now support me through long runs and hours of sun salutations. These days I try and make a point to focus on loving my body exactly the way that it is.
  7. My Yoga Mat – My yoga mat is my happy place (well, one of them). I am not a religious person in the conventional sense of the word, so yoga is my form of spirituality. It teaches me patience and how to be one with my body and helps me to quiet my busy mind. Yoga makes me feel both strong and light as a feather at the same time. I leave my mat with a sense of peace, calm and happiness. Every single time. I dream of one day having the opportunity to teach yoga to others and maybe, just maybe, running my own studio.
  8. My Health – I have learned through experiencing a period of health issues how precious our health is and how much we can take advantage of it. Even though what I went through is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through (see my first blog post for more on this), I know that I got lucky and have been lucky for the majority of my life. Our health can be taken from us at a moment’s notice. Without it, nothing else on this list could exist.
  9. My Laugh – I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love to laugh. The type of laughter that makes your stomach hurt and makes you happy all the way down to your toes. Really loud, soul-filling laughter. A sense of humor is one of the main things I look for in people that I date. My laugh is loud and is one of my favorite aspects of my personality.
  10. My Drive to Succeed – For those who personally know me, I don’t give up easily. I give everything my all, whether it is my relationships, my career or my workout regimen (to name a few). While sometimes I can exhaust myself if I don’t give myself a break, I am confident that my work ethic will take me far and help me to realize my dreams.

I encourage you to take some time today to reflect on what and who in your life you are most thankful for. Tell those people how you feel and how much you appreciate them. Life is precious and should be celebrated every day, not just on holidays. Hug those you love.

Peace, love and pasture-raised turkey,

The Yogi~Foodie

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2 thoughts on “Giving Thanks

  1. Love this, Anna :-). I so recognize your thought process… All of your points of gratitude resonate (yes, your mom is awesome!) and I had to smile when it got to loving your body just as it is. I wrote something in the same vein, in case you are interested to read it on my blog: “What if this is as good as it gets?”. Fascinating to me that we both touched this issue in the approximate time frame. Hmmmm… must be something in the air, lol! Keep writing… love being inspired :-)!

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    • Thanks Georgia! And I loved your blog post on “What if this is as good as it gets?”. The holidays always seem to bring up these types of emotions and energy for me and perhaps this is the case for you as well. Even writing on this topic in my blog is a good way for me to process it all, as my natural instinct is to try to shove these types of emotions away and protect myself instead of sitting with it and trying to understand where it is coming from. So interesting!! 🙂

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