Gratitude and Reflections
It seems appropriate – here , the night before Thanksgiving in the US to reflect on Gratitude as a launch into new beginnings or new next chapter (or new website).
In the last number of years so much of what I was taught growing up to believe about Thanksgiving has been destroyed as more truth comes out about the founding of our country and the atrocities that were dealt to our Native People – those who were here before the “white man” came. So on one hand “Thanksgiving” has been celebrated on false beliefs.
HOWEVER – what I do know to be true is that we make our own relationship with any event. I cannot change history from hundreds of years ago – I CAN choose my relationship with that event.
Growing up meant family and friends gathering for the Holiday. My memories are good ones, though now as I am older, they are not as clear as the memories that were made with my added family during my adult years. Again, it was family and friends, good food, games, delightful interactions. It often surprised me as my children grew up how they described (and perhaps even still do) that while growing up Thanksgiving was their favorite holiday in our home.
Most of our Thanksgivings were gatherings of a very special group of people from near and far – friends that would often be with us for 3-4 days – laughter late into the night – games, learning new things, some years skiing if the snow had fallen by then, snowshoeing… the love flowed.
In the latter years we chose to add some “intention” with people writing about their gratitude and putting the paper in a bowl. Each person at the table would pull one paper from the bowl and read it. Other years people just spoke their gratitude.
One year (that we still laugh about) was when I was all excited to make a pumpkin pie from scratch and thought it was interesting how “blond” the pie looked – “oh it must be because I am making it from the pumpkin and not the can.” When it came time to serve it I watched the first bite be taken and that person’s face said it all — though they tried HARD to SPEAK nice words. I tasted it and it was AWFUL!!! I couldn’t understand it – I followed the recipe so clearly. I got out the cookbook I had used and with some investigation found that I HAD FAILED TO TURN THE PAGE TO SEE THE SUGAR AND SPICES LISTED ON THE NEXT PAGE!!! Oh did we have the laughs on that one!!! (And for YEARS since – it still comes up as a great story).
So time moves on, a divorce happens and life changes. Kids grow up and move away, parents die, some friends get old and traveling is difficult. New traditions can be started. The past few years I have found myself some of these years without family and friends close by for sharing the holiday. When that has happened I have chosen to spend the day in silence and focus on gratitude for the day. Meditate for awhile, then do an activity (paint, walk) meditate for awhile, then another activity…throughout the day.
There is so much to be grateful for: my life, each breath, my health, my family – 2 amazing adult children, an incredible delightful granddaughter, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, and more, wonderful caring friends – some new – some long term (and yep – some OLD), Spirit in my life, a home, food, water, air to breathe, freedoms, a car to get me where I want to go, my Chiropractic practice for 35 YEARS!!!, my art – sharing my art, my mind, the love in my heart, this earth we call home, and I could go on and on here. I truly am so grateful – for all I am, all I have, and all that is..
Then I go deeper – what about the tough times in my life? Can I be grateful for that TOO. Indeed – all that has happened in my life brought me to where i am right now – sitting and typing this blog of Musings – every piece of my life – to here now – and I am – I am truly grateful for all of it.
Thich Nhat Hahn says “Present Moment, Perfect Moment” – and it is.
The beautiful lotus grows through the muck and is one of the most beautiful flowers we have.
Wisdom comes from experiences – to be able to share and help others, and to grow in learning from that experience – including having the choice of how we relate to the experience.
So yes – I am truly grateful for it all. Tomorrow I will go with a friend for a walk in a wildlife refuge, then a soak in the hotspings, then share a simple dinner. Through the day I will reflect on gratitude.
My prayer for all: May all beings be safe, May all beings be happy, May all beings be healthy, May all beings have ease of support, May all beings be free and at Peace.
Peace to all — Uma Joy