Boldly existing outside the box through conscious living and constant learning.
“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual…O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.”
-Henry David Thoreau
I think there comes a point in all of our lives, or at least I hope there is, that we start to ask questions of the things we see around us. It starts early and continues into adulthood and for those who are lucky it will never end. For me, one of the many questions I have always had has been about Thanksgiving. I would call it a conundrum even. Should we be celebrating something that is only really positive for a part of all the people in the country and really shitty for another part? Maybe there are other occasions where this is also true but Thanksgiving seems one of the more blatant examples of ignoring a simple fact.
I am not saying we shouldnt celebrate, but can we at least acknowledge the disconnect between how Native American’s might feel about it and how the rest of people see it? Is there some way to sort of offset the counter-intuitive nature of this holiday that has become so prevalent in our society?
It seems this time of year has become so much about Black Friday and burnt turkey and less about what the root of its purpose is. Thanksgiving, at its most simple form, is about the recognition of our shared humanity and how cultural, racial, and religious differences do not supercede our humanness. Consumerism, stress, and gluttony have overtaken this simple yet powerful principles that birthed what we call Thanksgiving today. It seems that what we can do to honor this ideal more than eating and shopping is to enjoy loved ones as well as strangers, foster goodwill and positivity, and grow in our lives the tree of service and selflessness.
All that being said, being thankful is never a bad thing. Maybe it is just a matter of us redefining how the “thanks” are thought about. Instead of, or better yet in addition to, giving thanks for things why don’t we do something for someone else that they would give thanks for. Does that make sense? There are so many people closer than you might think that would be so thankful for something as small as a cup of hot chocolate, a blanket, or just a smile and a handshake. Service to others is light, and that is something we can all be thankful for. Let us remind ourselves that for all of our blessing and good fortune (and yes we are all blessed even if we sometimes don’t feel like it) we have the responsibility to turn that outwards and back to others.
As this special, if not perplexing, occasion approaches I am thankful for so much. Far too much to share all of it here. But, for fear of not trying, I would like to share some of the things I am most thankful for in life.
Being Empowered: This means to me that I have the ability and opportunity to make choices in my life. So many people in the world have no choice in their circumstance and for some reason I am given that chance every day.
Love of Family: Though often times I fall short in appreciating them fully, my family has been, is always, and forever will be there for me and that is worth more than any other thing.
Nature: What kind of life would it be without the opportunity to appreciate and partake of the natural splendor around me? I think I would go crazy… Yeah I definitely would.
Music, Art, Creativity: Getting to appreciate beautiful things is something I take for granted sometimes, but I am so thankful for these things in life.
Airplanes: The whole world is no further than a plane ride away and at this time in the history of the world that fact is unique.
Companionship: Who else would welcome my many eccentricities and inadequacies with such grace and love? Not many I think.
You: Dear reader, the one who comes back time after time to share this place with me and to go on this crazy journey together. To know you are out there lifts me up and takes me places I could never reach on my own. I hope, in some small way, I can return what encouragement and support you have given me. So… Thanks!