November – despite its characteristic gray skies and bare trees in many parts of the United States – has always held a special place in my heart. It’s a month of gratitude, inner reflection, and thanksgiving – officially marked by the gathering of families and friends to feast and pay homage to the bounty in our lives.
Having grown up with both Scandinavian (via my mother) and American (my father) traditions, I’ve always loved the ceremony and circumstance of Thanksgiving. This year, it bears special significance – on a global level as we send our deepest love and support to our friends in Paris, and within our own family as we deal with some health challenges. It is in times like these that our gratitude is the strongest because we still have so many blessings for which to be grateful. We all face challenges. They are part of life. It’s our attitude that helps us determine how we face them. And the relationships that surround us that help us through. I am beyond blessed in all of these ways.
But giving thanks and living mindfully and with purpose is not a one-day affair. Rather, it is a lifestyle to be embraced every day, every season.
This is a beautiful time to:
- Stop and smell the roses. Literally stop. Breathe. Take in the fragrance, the beauty, the gorgeousness and miraculousness of a rose (or lily or hibiscus) blooming. I am moving into a new house this month with the most spectacular view. Taking a moment to look at and appreciate it when I wake up warms my heart and makes me smile.
- Walk in nature. For me, that means taking time to get outside, walk the beach, breathe in the sea air. And when I’m traveling, to step outside and immerse myself in nature – wherever that may be: a lonely country road; a wooded path; a walk through city streets – taking in the crowds, the noises, the smells.
- Breathe deeply and meditate. As a longtime yogi, I have, over the years, become in tune with my breath. I have also recently learned the famed Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique which I now practice for 20 minutes twice a day. It is a completely effective and substantiated technique for inner peace and wellness, and profound rest and relaxation. TM is backed by 380 peer-reviewed research studies published in more than 160 scientific journals conducted at more than 200 universities and research centers including Harvard, Stanford, Yale and UCLA (my alma mater).
- Write it down. Keep a ‘gratitude journal.’ Every day, carve time to list five items for which you’re grateful and record them in a book. Some days, the pen may flow easily and the list expands. Other days, five may seem too huge an effort. But do it anyway. And look back at them periodically. As your heart opens, and gratitude flows, more blessings will find their way to you.
- Practice self-care. Rid yourself of the notion that it’s selfish to have a spa treatment, to get your nails done or to join a yoga class or gym. Take time to nurture, nourish and care for your body. One of my personal favorite and most replenishing rituals includes a bath with Kerstin Florian Mineral Wellness Soak after exfoliating with Turkish Body Scrub, followed by an application of our aromatic Organic Ginger Bath & Body Oil. Home spa rituals can be powerful and renewing.
- Follow your bliss. Nurture a hobby or interest. Follow a passion. Learn to say no – just because you’re invited to the party, doesn’t mean you must go. Listen to your inner voice. And trust…
As author Elizabeth Gilbert so eloquently writes: “To sit patiently with a yearning that has not yet been fulfilled, and to trust that fulfillment will come, is quite possibly one of the most powerful ‘magic skills’ that human beings are capable of.”
In wellness and gratitude, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.