Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

National Day of Mourning, New England.
I have been teaching my Sunday School class all about Thanksgiving and other cultures' similar holidays. Many religions and cultures have similar days of gratitude. I taught them about Purim and Harvest Home/Mabon last week. I also taught them about how Indigenous Americans see this holiday and showed them footage of The American Indian Movement occupying Alcatraz Island. I told them of participating in the National Day of Mourning in Massachusetts when I lived there.

In teaching them about today, I leaned something myself:

While there was a harvest festival in 1621 (that had pilgrim immigrants from Europe and native Mashpee and Wampanoag people in attendance), the holiday started being celebrated on the 4th day in November when Abraham Lincoln called for a "National Day of Thanksgiving" after the Civil War ended. We have not been celebrating this day, in perpetuity, since the days of the pilgrims as we are led to believe. It was made a legal holiday in 1941 on the 4th Thursday in November. So the official, secular holiday has its roots steeped in war and a longing for peace.

I also worked with the kids on cultivating a gratitude practice. I talked about how when you are feeling bitter or resentful about something, a gratitude practice is the best fix to make yourself feel better. I had them list 5 things that they were grateful for, in that moment. It was telling that they had a hard time with the exercise. Most of us are our of practice when it comes to being thankful and expressing our gratitude. We take things for granted.

This holiday, I am grateful for many things. My top 5 are:

1. My son- who makes me laugh every day and gives me a great sense of purpose.
2. Supportive and loving family in this time of transition.
3. The basics that I should never take for granted: shelter, food, clean water, and love.
4. That my partner has found a job and is working hard for our family.
5. A wonderful life plan and goals before me.

What about you? What are your top 5?


  1. Thanksgiving Day is a struggle, because of the legacy of genocide hidden under the mythology of the day.

    On the other hand - we need a day of Thanksgiving. This is one of the last widely practiced, non-commercialized holidays that emphasizes gratitude and bondings.

    I don't know if stripping it of the ridiculous mythology is enough to save the holiday. But I'd be sad to see the baby in the bathtub of dirty water discarded.

    But, my top five:
    1. My daughter.
    2. My circles - family, friends, those I don't know well but who still impact my life.
    3. My work. I would not have this focus without it.
    4. My spiritual work - I've come so far, and it gives me my center
    5. My health

  2. Nice post.. thanksgiving is always an interesting topic for me to teach to my little ones at school :(

    my top five:

    1.) My loving best friend and partner, my husband
    2.) the teensy-tiny baby in my belly
    3.) Siblings who are my best friends
    4.)Parents who raised me to love and respect all
    5.) A job to keep us with food on the table and in our beautiful home

  3. Thank you for reminding us of our everyday blessings. It get's difficult to remember, esp. when things get sad or bad, so writing a list of things/people to be thankful for may be in order.

    In my case, my Fab Five are (no order, as all are equal to me):
    * my family and friends
    * the Great Creator/s and the Guardians they asked to look over me -- for still being my side after all I've thrown at Them
    * You and Other People like you -- for the lessons, humor, sympathy, reminders, inspirations. ALso BOOPSTER!
    * my humor and my passions -- for helping me get through things
    * Creation -- for the lessons. joy, inspirations

    P.S Maybe you could share some insights/fighting tips on how to deal/see gossip mongers and malicious people, those who like "to bear false witness"?
    P.P.S. Also, how do you view the world when it goes mad? (Suggestions)


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