A must listen before your Thanksgiving holiday

Thanksgiving is, without question, my favorite holiday. Maybe it’s because our Thanksgiving is a raucous 40 person affair (this year it’s actually 47!). Or maybe it’s because it’s a non-religious holiday, meaning my father can take a break from worrying that we’re bad Jews for celebrating Christmas with our non-Jewish family members. Either way, I look forward to Thanksgiving every year. And every year, no matter how excited I am, I’m also a little nervous. I’m nervous that my aunt and grandmother will get snippy with each other, worried that my father will start spouting uncomfortable political rhetoric, and just generally concerned that someone will drink too much and say something inappropriate.

And let me say, I ADORE my family. They are lovely, well-meaning people and even lovely, well-meaning people can drive you crazy.

A few weeks ago I spoke with filmmaker Arielle Nobile, who makes family documentaries. Needless to say she sees interesting family dynamics all the time. On our call together we talked about family drama, what to do when someone does that thing AGAIN that drives you nuts, and the importance of staying present and connected, even during the chaos of the holiday season.

During our conversation we shared our own personal stories of failed family holiday interactions and what we both do now to engage in a more peaceful and present way.

If you too love your family AND find yourself wanting to check out and disconnect from the chaos, listen to the recording of our talk. It’s funny, candid and provides some very important tools on how to navigate difficult moments, ease the internal tension and stay connected with yourself and others during the holidays.

Lastly, as Thanksgiving is a time of thanks and gratitude, I want to THANK YOU for both reading this piece and being part of my community. It means so much to me. Thank you for being a person who wants to connect and love and positively contribute to society.

Humanity is going through so much right now. From the refugee crisis to the attacks in Paris and Mali, it’s easy to see the world as a dark, inhumane, dangerous place. And though terrorism and violence are real, so too is our desires for peace and understanding.

Sometimes I worry that I’m not doing enough in the grand scheme of the world. Not helping enough, serving enough, impacting enough. And then I remember that being a vocal woman who stands for love and harmony is enough. That in my small way, by healing my own wounds and opening my heart to those both in my life and beyond, I am doing good and healing our collective wounds. (Even if it’s just a little bit.)

So, every time you take a deep breath and re-center. Each time you get curious about why your sister acted that way rather than knee-jerking to a spiteful comment. Every opportunity you take to reconnect with yourself and share the love you find there, is a moment that you too are doing good and healing the world’s wounds.

With that, have a wonderful, loving, joyous Thanksgiving and know I’ll be taking big deep breaths right along with you!

XOXO, JamieGreenwood

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