The days around Thanksgiving have always been special for me. Of all the holidays in America, this might be my favorite because when I’m conscious—not focusing on food or other distractions—it can be a day of deep gratitude in concert with millions of others, and that’s powerful!
H.U. Westermayer succinctly points out the roots of this tradition: “The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
My personal tradition is to take the time to make the list. So here goes.
I’m thankful that the new owner of the vacant lot next to my house left the ancient apple tree standing, and each morning I can watch birds celebrate the dawning of a new day and be reminded that we are here to live in joy—which sort of excludes war.
I’m thankful that I live in a beautiful natural environment and in a community who cares about keeping it that way.
I’m thankful that I got over debilitating shyness years ago, and it’s now easy for me to meet and talk with strangers. If I need a “social hit,” a walk to town will provide that communion.
I’m thankful that I learned to cook and plan meals, because I’ve become a real foodie, and it’s a source of joy, and a “double opportunity” to be thankful several times a day.
I’m thankful that I have been guided to learn about healthy food, appropriate supplements and “super-foods,” natural remedies, and physical therapy/movement to assure relative comfort in my Earth-suit on this planet as long as I get to live here.
I’m thankful that my old cat who communicates mostly without sound, who offers tender support when it’s needed, who appreciates the loving kindnesses I show him—like nursing him back to health when the vet said I was his only chance—also enjoys hide and seek as much as I do. I have learned more about graciousness, gratitude, compassion, and play from my cat than from any human I have known in all my years.
I’m thankful that I am not afraid to love— even while I know that it will end through inevitable change, whether growth, separation, or death. There simply isn’t anything more wonderful than loving.
I’m thankful that I am learning not to be a hoarder—of material objects or people. There is a season for everything, and when it’s passed, it’s time to let go. Living on the edge involves faith. And one more of my little life rules, especially applicable today, “Be a responsible steward of resources.”
I’m thankful that over twenty years ago I actually had clothes wear out, and I discovered what a rush that is, resulting in my choosing as a guiding principle for my life a line from an old song: “…help yourself, but don’t take too much…” (“God Bless The Child,” Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr., 1941).
I’m thankful that I have a habit of starting my days with “twenty things I’m grateful for”—even on those occasions when it’s damn hard to find the first one. Sometimes just “focusing on the breath” can be helpful—like, I’m thankful that I’m still breathing.”
I’m thankful that I continue to have “mystical experiences of God” that “…modern-day preachers long for,” at least according to the professional I consulted after one especially extraordinary experience over thirty years ago.
I’m thankful that I am no longer afraid of “what’s gonna happen,” because I know, from keeping journals most of my life, that my mental habits draw experiences to me.
I’m thankful I am learning how to “tame” my mind by consciously choosing its focus instead of letting it run rampant through the negative files it picks up from interaction with the world through newspapers, television, movies, and people.
I’m thankful that I spent the time clarifying my beliefs and establishing a comfortable relationship with my spirituality, because I am comfortable in my own skin and I have a pretty good idea of my place in the scheme of things. Certainly, I never “get bored.”
I’m thankful that I have actually seen Oneness with my own eyes, in the overlapping energy fields of trees, mountains, animals— while standing in a desert watching the rose and orange crème sunset fade into smoky mauve. Knowing that we are, in fact, ONE helps me a lot with forgiveness… (To get the whole story, please read BURNOUT: How a Desert Lizard Restored My Faith on Amazon.)
I’m thankful that I got to see the new Harry Potter film, Deathly Hallows, Part I on the first day here, and had the exact seat I was hoping for, and was struck by the cosmic joke when the first lines uttered were something like, “We live in difficult times…”
I’m thankful that I read all the Harry Potter books before seeing the films so I understood what was happening, reminding me about the utter foolishness of making opinions about things without knowing the whole story.
I’m thankful that, unlike elected officials nation-wide who are stealing state employees’ retirement funds (that were guaranteed by state law) so they can be flashy heroes miraculously balancing deficit budgets they created through mismanagement, I learned as a young adult to Keep My Word. How can someone even have the thought that it’s okay to re-write laws so they can steal retirement funds from the teachers who raised their children and the law enforcement officers who protected them and their families from harm? Whew! I am so thankful that I am NOT you!
I’m thankful that I learned good money management skills as a waitress in college. Perhaps our elected officials need a time-out, time away from their salaries for at least a year, with the stipulation that they are completely dependent on whatever they earn waiting tables to provide for all their needs. That gesture would not only help balance the federal budget by withholding their salaries, but would also teach them fundamental money management skills they apparently missed as children.
I’m thankful that I get to walk on a trail by the river and watch ducks simply be ducks—totally living in the moment, having zip regard for who won the election or whether or not the $1.2 billion spent annually on building underground cities and tunnels can continue to go unnoticed by the taxpayers who are funding that construction, but who probably will not be invited to use them in the unlikely event they are ever needed.
I’m thankful that the veil is dropping, and that there will be no more secrets. Disclosure is happening now. Warriors like Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow, Jesse Ventura, The Camelot Project, David Wilcock and others are shedding light on some really dark corners of politics in this country—not through political spin, but with actual facts.
I’m thankful that I took the time years ago to clarify my spiritual path, and I therefore have a comforting framework for processing these “interesting times we live in.”
What are you grateful for?
Till next time,
“Please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our secret sorrows.” ~Tzaddi
[This article, originally posted on 11.22.10, was edited. It is a re-post because it’s still true.]