There are so many things to be thankful for. Simple things. A warm cup of coffee in your favorite mug perhaps? That’s one of the joys I take pleasure in every day. The way the mug feels around cold morning hands. The way the smell tickles your nose as it’s brewing, and starts to awaken your senses. A good cup of coffee can take the chill out of the winter blues, or even be the reason for a visit from a friend. I’ve had countless conversations over a cup, or ten cups of coffee depending on the day. The kitchen is my favorite room in the house for a few reasons, a big reason is that’s where the coffee lives, but it’s also where people come to my table. I’ve always found so much joy in feeding people. The way coffee, tea, and treats can make the perfect setting for an afternoon of conversations or games, and the way people light up at the sight of home made dishes. Sometimes I wonder what kind of grandmother I’ll be. I can’t wait for the day when my family takes up a whole table, and everyone comes to cook and eat and share in such a simple joy in life. I sometimes think this is why people put so much pressure on themselves around the holidays. There just isn’t a lot of time these days to be making everything from scratch, and now it’s so much easier to get a little help from your local grocery store when it comes to eating healthy, and not having to dirty every dish to put dinner together every night. Cooking is a lot of work, but it is always so worth it to me. There are a few things in this life that are universal and organically bring people together, and one of my favorites is eating great food, the one that is inevitable is death, and the two often meet ironically. Eating is something we all have to do, and one day we will all die. Death reminds us all that we are living in finite bodies. It binds us together in empathy because at one point or another we will experience it in all its shades, and finally for ourselves. Food reminds me to savour the little things in life. If I had people I love together, eating and laughing, I could die happily with few regrets. I think if you can learn to view the beauty in ordinary moments, you will lead a happy life. Children know this best, and we can learn a lot from them. They haven’t seen a butterfly a million times, so they will stop to cherish the simple beauty and ease as it flutters in a soft breeze, or laugh out loud at a silly dog side tracking in a park, or share a cookie with a beautiful stranger because why not? What have they(we) got to lose? They take each moment for what it is because they haven’t a past to refer to, to sway their judgments, to make them weigh options, and timing, and bank accounts. All they have is now. It’s incredibly intoxicating for me to hear the laugh of a child, especially when they have the full on out of breath, drool flying everywhere, can’t stop laughing giggles. It gets me every time no matter where I am because it’s truly a beautiful thing. They let themselves get totally immersed in the moment, in the present, and they only know how to show up as themselves. I’ve learned a lot from my years of teaching children to dance, especially the wee ones. They only know how to be themselves if it’s encouraged and nurtured that way, and there is so much to learn from them. In shamanistic societies, if you came to a medicine person with complaints of depression, or a heavy heart, they would ask you one of four questions, “When did you stop dancing?, When did you stop singing?, When did you stop being enchanted by stories?,When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?” I think this is a huge factor as to why we are drawn to children and their youth, the newness that they bring. The way a baby can make you appreciate the world with new eyes unlike anything else on this earth, and all before they can even speak. Too often as adults we are on auto pilot. I’m not saying that it’s not ok, and even necessary at times, but I think we leave it on way too often. What would happen if you really lived in the moment? Making excuses not to do things often take up way more of our time and most definitely do not feel as good as saying yes to the things we want. There are always reasons not to do things if you let there be. There are always more dishes to wash, laundry to do, and groceries to buy. That’s a lot of that in this life too. Being happy can come down to whether or not the majority of your time is spent doing things you have to do, or if it’s spent doing the things you want to do. Sometimes you have to do both to get the things you want, but that’s ok. The world doesn’t care about what you want, or what I want. There are 7 billion other people on this planet, and you are only one. That’s pretty insignificantly small, but it can be so freeing. The only person who decides what you do with your life is you. You have the power to create any change that you want. Anything worth doing is rarely easy, but when you’re doing the things you truly want in your life, it can be pretty rewarding to give it your all, even when times get tough and you feel like you can’t go on. That’s where other people come in. Human beings who care about each other, and help for the good of sowing happiness in another person’s garden. This is what life is about for me. Happiness is easiest found in a reflection. Do not let that little voice try and tell you you’re not good enough when you see something just beyond your grasp. Be prepared to work hard for the things you want, and take pleasure in the simple moments. Because those monumental moments in life, those “omg I can’t believe it, this is exactly like a movie” moments are pretty far and few. But when you shift your gaze, open up your scope and find happiness in the ordinary, life can be a pretty beautiful journey. What are you thankful for?