Today’s the official day to give thanks, but those with gratitude practices will tell you that the real juice is in the daily (momently) practice. Looking at life in late November, so many Americans are just so grateful for warmth, family and food, and these are worthwhile things for which to be grateful. But having an annual practice necessitates we focus on the macro, and the truth is, as we recognize the micro reasons for giving thanks we can really gain traction for living a life in appreciation of All That Is.
I’m glad we have this national holiday, and while i don’t believe you can institutionalize things like thankfulness or peace we certainly can cultivate them, and our culture plays an enormous role in how we develop our orientation to the world, fearful or grateful, defensive or curious. Things like “Thanksgiving” move us in the right direction, even when we seem to be steamrolling in the opposite direction.
I am thankful for so many things, and I want to become grateful for so many more. I can recognize how much of my worldview felt entitled to things as a younger woman, and I am particularly thankful to have moved through that particular stage and very much appreciate every time another layer of that drops off…. I want to develop ever deeper appreciation for the thousands of things that let our days go by, even the tough ones. And on the tough ones, I’ve noticed there are often even more things to be appreciative of, the kind of appreciation that lasts beyond the moment and restores a worldview wherein we really are in this together.
I can’t really look at this tradition without the sad acknowledgment of Native Americans and the ruthless way the American government decimated the culture.
So now I am thankful, but I am also ashamed.
(this is not the way i expected this post to go, btw, but here we are.)
Collective trauma needs to be acknowledged to begin to be healed. I am thankful that as a species we are learning this and that we have examples like South Africa’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission. As I look at America today, I know that a process like that is the first step to healing. Being realistic about the past and how it holds the future captive just might be enough to engage us in the potential of the healing work. All this discontent and animosity sources from collective trauma, and we can pretend all day long that we sprang forth from daylillies, but we didn’t, and until we reconcile our beginnings our end is chaotic.
We have a fair number of brilliant people who have begun this work, modeled this work, and written about the process – because every instance of it is going to be unique. I’m thankful for it all.
But, this really did come out much less appreciative than I anticipated. So, I’m just going to offer my 10 influences I’m especially appreciating right now:
- Paul Selig
- Thomas Hübl
- The Business Plan for Peace/Sheva Carr & Scilla Elworthy
- Claire Zammit & Craig Hamilton/Evolving Wisdom
- Qi Gong/Tai Chi
- Attachment Theory
- Synergy & Jan
- Small Group Work/Barbara Sher/Barbara Marx Hubbard