This Thanksgiving, I celebrated my very first Friendsgiving with an intimate group of people at my friend Sarah’s house in Brooklyn. In her invite, she told us all to bring something that reminded us of what we’re grateful for. After filling ourselves with some of the best homemade food I’ve ever tasted (shout out to Sarah for BAKING HER OWN BREAD FROM SCRATCH and then using it for stuffing), we went around the room and shared what we’d brought and what it reminded us to be grateful for.
Some people brought ornaments. Some shared notes. I brought some of my journals from my childhood and teen years – because what I determined I was MOST grateful for this year was my quirky, introspective, aware childhood and the safe space it’s given me to land.
At the beginning of this year, I made a whiteboard with all of my professional goals for 2016. Events? Check. Finances? Kinda-check. And then a list of things that at the beginning of the year, I thought mattered so much.
Then 2016 happened.
This year has shaken me (and us, I think) up in all of the best and worst ways possible – all culminating with a pretty tough November. But in the toughness, there was so much to be grateful for – and so much I was reminded to never take for granted.
Forget about the obvious stuff, like a loving, healthy relationship and the chance to live in New York City. This month reminded me to be grateful for the feeling of community in my life; for not feeling alone. Let alone living in one of the best cities in the world – this month made me grateful to be living with a roof over my head, period! I was reminded to be grateful that even when money’s a little tighter than usual that I still have enough to provide myself with the basic necessities and then some. Not only do I have a close relationship with my family, I belong to a family that for the most part agrees about the big things like politics, civil liberties, and basic human decency. Heck, I am in TOUCH with my whole family. That’s saying something! This month has reminded me how damn lucky I am to have all I have. So many people are worried about everything from whether they’ll be able to afford healthcare to how they will put food on the table to whether they’ll ever feel welcome in their own family members’ homes again. This month, I am most grateful for three decades of diving in and digging deep even when it’s most uncomfortable – whether it’s examining my privileges or feeling things that are hard to feel. Right now, I am most grateful that even in the toughest of times, EVEN when I don’t want to get out of bed, I’ve taught myself how to look beyond the emotions of the situation at hand and ask “What Can I Do To Help?” Whether it’s others or myself, I am super grateful to have cultivated this power, slowly but surely. Even when I felt like an outsider…even when I felt like I was weird for being so “emotional” (really just pensive)…I am so glad I stuck with it. That work is paying off now. Big time.
The things I thought mattered still matter, but in perspective they’re just stops along the way. They’re cool things and cool accomplishments and cool ways to live life. But this year has been a massive reminder of what truly matters in the long run, and how important it is for us all to use our gifts, talents, privileges, and wisdom to make an impact for the better. That’s what I mean when, at the end of each WANTcast, I say “Be the you YOU know you’re meant to be.” Not just for yourself. But for the world, too.
I know you’re probably sick of the gift guides slamming your inboxes right now, but I’d love to offer up a few suggestions this year in the spirit of helping others and helping yourself:
FOR PLACES TO DONATE, in your name or someone else’s, check out this awesome list of pro-women, pro-immigrant, pro-earth, anti-bigotry organizations. The ACLU, She Should Run, Planned Parenthood, EarthJustice, and so many more! Be sure to go through the comments section for even more suggestions. Also, a list of ways to help Standing Rock – which, if you haven’t been following along, is devastating and makes me wonder what century we’re living in…
FOR JEWELRY WITH A MISSION, my friend Diane’s company Love Infinity For All is designed to start conversations around mental illness. But she also knows that conversation is only one part of the equation – which is why she donates 15% of all purchases to the National Alliance For Mental Illness to make change happen. Also, every single one of her pieces is gorgeous. Currently coveting the brand-new vegan Gwen wrap choker. SHOP HERE
FOR A BOOK THAT HEALS, my absolute favorite of the moment is Glennon Doyle Melton’s memoir, Love Warrior. The people in my life are probably sick of me talking about this book ad nauseum. You’ve heard of “self-help” books? This is more like a “self-heal” book. Love Warrior is absolutely stunning. So stunning, in fact, that I read it cover to cover on my most recent flight from LA to NYC. There’s been a crapton written about how moving this book is and about how powerful Glennon’s story is – and it’s all true. I’d like to add that part of what makes this book so incredible is HOW it’s structured. I love how Glennon not only writes in the first person, but in the present tense so you feel like you’re on the journey with her. In telling her story, exploring her truths, and stepping fearlessly into who she really is, Glennon somehow encourages you to do the same. You heal along with her in the process. What’s even cooler? If you
are determined to make Glennon your new BFF go down the rabbit hole and take a peek at her social media accounts, blog, etc, she is using this opportunity of massive visibility to do SO MUCH GOOD. Take a peek at Together Rising and Holiday Hands. Yes, she’s got a best-selling memoir. Yes, Oprah called. But this badass chick keeps her freaking eye on the prize – the prize being the change she can make in others’ lives on both a micro and macro level. I get choked up every single time I think about it. This is what we should all be doing. Tell our truths, do hard things, and use opportunities to benefit as many people as we can. BUY HERE
FOR KIDS ALL OVER, I am wishing I was a kid again and could get a million of The Doll Kind. For each doll purchased, one doll is given to a child in need. Hospitals, orphanages, shelters, the works. My dolls and stuffed animals brought me so much joy and, as an introvert, always made me feel like I had a best friend by my side even when I wanted to just play alone. I can’t even begin to imagine how much these dolls must mean to the less fortunate kids who receive them. SHOP HERE
FOR YOUR FAVE INTROVERT (speaking of introvert kids…), check out WANTcast guest Jenn Granneman’s new Introvert Dreams coloring book. I cannot imagine how different my self-perception would have been if I had known about introverts when I was little! Listen to Jenn on the WANTcast here, then gift this book to your favorite little one (or grown-up introvert) to let them know it’s cool to be quiet. BUY HERE
FOR YOUR NEW FAVE ONE-STOP SHOP, Enrou is where it’s at. I was introduced to Enrou earlier this year and it was love at first click. Each piece on the site, from hats and scarves to bags and home goods, provides hours of dignified work, an income and job training to someone who needs it. Your purchase also helps supports Enrou’s brand partners’ community initiatives such as health education, financial coaching, and women’s empowerment programs. If you’re giving someone a gift, be sure to print out the page you bought it from, so they can see the pic of the person/community they’re supporting. I know – cue the happy-waterworks. I love this hat, this kimono, these hoops, every single one of their pieces with The Giving Keys, and this Old Fashioned set (bc a girl’s gotta drink in style). Actually, I love everything. SHOP HERE
(***EDIT: Enrou is offering WANT readers 10% off through the end of 2016 with the code WANT10 – so get shopping!
AND FOR A GIFT THAT COSTS NOTHING, maybe subscribe a woman in your life to the WANT newsletter so she can be a part of our community! Every single day (literally), I hear from others how important WANT is and how much the work we are doing matters. We cannot help others if we do not help ourselves first – how can we do either if we’re programming ourselves to be our own worst enemies? Entering your friend’s email is so simple, but could be the thing that changes everything. (But, um, give them the heads up so they don’t think we’re spamming them, k?) SUBSCRIBE HERE
What about you? Do you have a small business that gives back or a soulful gift you’ll be giving this holiday season? Tell us in the comments!
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