>With Thanksgiving just a day away, I’m thinking about how the holiday provides a time for us to STOP and give thanks. What a wonderful change of pace this is to the endless “make and consume more” mode most of us find ourselves mired in. Now, if we take this thought just a little further we arrive at a less obvious and more insidious mode.
    Every minute of our lives is an opportunity to STOP the endless mental chatter that goes on in our minds as we worry over, plan or anticipate past and future events that are either long gone or likely never to occur. What captivates us, and hold us captive to the mental chatter, are the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and our lives. It’s in these stories that we get caught up and lose sight of the fact that we are not our stories…but rather the consciousness or awareness behind them. Once you remove yourself from the story…with all it’s drama…you also remove the stress and pressures that accompanies your stories and are more able to be grateful and joyful in the moment.
    Just for a moment, think about what causes you emotional pain or  suffering. Now, take away the story you thought about to generate the pain or suffering and just experience the emotion itself. What soon becomes apparent is that without the story the emotion quickly loses energy until it’s gone! So while it is, at times, important and necessary to deeply “be” in the negative emotions you are feeling…it is never important or necessary to replay the story around those emotions and thereby perpetuate your pain and suffering.
    When you STOP telling yourself and others your stories, what you create is an opening in the present to fully experience whatever is available in the moment instead of living in the story of your past or as yet to be future.
    STOPing is not supported in our society. We live in a world where doing and getting and advancing are exalted…where motion is the prized activity. But motion is too often our escape from emotion. It’s in fully being present in our emotions as they are occurring that makes us capable of truly knowing ourselves and others.
    The trick is to STOP when you are having an emotional experience and, without either reacting to it or running from it, fully experience the depth and breadth of what you are feeling. Trust that whatever that emotion is, and however powerful it’s intensity, the pure experience of it is the very thing you are likely both looking for in your life…and running from, as well.
    So, not just on Thanksgiving, but on every day of your life, STOP and express gratitude for your ability to deeply feel…for it is through your feeling self that you have the most direct path to knowing the Oneness of It All.
    Gobble. Gobble.

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