Thanksgiving is a time of eating ridiculous amounts of turkey and pie, watching football, waiting in department store lines at midnight, and being grateful for friends and family. While the majority of us agree that Thanksgiving is a cherished time of year, many of us do not look forward to spending a weekend with family. Arguments, sibling rivalry, disappointments, and regretful behaviors are played out live around the dining room table or discussed when someone has the good intention of reminiscing about the past. On the drive to grandma’s house, we create exit strategies with our partners, hope Cousin Larry’s invitation was lost in the mail, and wonder if Aunt Marjorie is bringing her new boyfriend. We fear seeing our loved ones instead of looking forward to reuniting with them.
I invite you to consider a different perspective in preparation for Thanksgiving this year: the elephant greeting ceremony. When elephants are apart from one another, whether it is days or years, their reunion is an extraordinary sight. Long lost elephant relatives and friends look directly at one another, spin, rumble, flap ears, and rub their tusks out of pure joy for being reunited. Try initiating your own greeting ceremony this year by hugging your uncle, picking-up your niece and spinning her around, and looking into your mother’s eyes during dinner conversation. Adopt a mindset of gratitude and joy for spending time with family and friends, which just happens to be the spirit of Thanksgiving.