This time of year, prepares us to ask “What really matters?”
It’s a tradition to give gratitude as we sit around the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Often what we say slips off our tongues without thinking about it. Yes, we’re thankful for our families, our health, a meal to fill our bellies, the team we root for winning the big game.
We stuff the disappointments for this one day.
We leave the “not enough” thoughts on the sidelines.
Yet, they’re there only to be picked up a few days later as we head back to work and school, and start the dash to buying holiday presents and prepare for the parties ahead.
Preparing for anything takes some deep, quiet thinking. When we’re prepared, the peaks and valleys of our daily journey are easier to predict and can be handled with more grace.
How do leaders prepare? How do you prepare for what’s ahead? Here’s a suggestion.
Find time for silence during the week. Set aside at least on hour or two where you can simply close your eyes, stare at the sky, listen to music and let thoughts about what matters wash over you.
Answer the following questions when you say farewell to the comfort of the silence:
- How many shirts do you need to look adequate?
- Who can you tell your deepest dreams to?
- What makes your heart sing?
- When do you give to others?
- What will be your legacy?
Perhaps each year at Thanksgiving we should create a silent zone, maybe just one hour, to assess how much and what we need.
Think about every person coming to the Thanksgiving table ready for a dialogue about how we can build a better world together with a focused positive perspective. Where we can discuss difficult topics and divergent points of view and hear each other. Where being right, takes a back seat gaining new perspectives on what needs to change.
Is this mere fantasy? Suggest it to your family, or just do it yourself. See what a difference it makes.
This recalls a story that author Kurt Vonnegut told about his friend Joseph Heller.
Joe Heller was an author whose book, Catch 22 was a national sensation. In fact, the title became a way for people to talk about any vicious cycle in life involving an absurd no-win contradictory choice that ends up badly.
The novel, a masterpiece of humor and irony is as fresh and needed today as when it was published over fifty years ago. Suggested reading.
In any case, here is a wonderful story Kurt Vonnegut (his books are also right up there for these confusing times) told about his friend Joe.
“I said, Joe how does it make you feel to know that our host
only yesterday may have made more money than your novel Catch 22
has earned in its entire history?”
And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”
And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”
And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”
In your time of Thanksgiving silence, think about what is enough.