Things might be tough economically these days but riches truly abound. You can’t put a price or assign a value to the shared human experience of it all, nudging us toward a new and brighter day. People are working hard everywhere and they are enjoying what they have. People are loving their families, they are forming alliances, they are doing their best and looking out for their neighbors. Witness the massive response to Hurricane Sandy. Through pain and tough times, there is laughter and kindness and camaraderie. There is the urgency to do better, to be more appreciative of what we’ve got, to share love and spread joy.
So this day represents an opportunity to give thanks and appreciation on a conscious level for the love, abundance and bounty in our lives. How does one do that? How can I express this bursting feeling in my heart?
In years past it seemed to me this day was reduced to being a day about gorging on food and falling asleep on the couch. I used to be offended by this. I was repelled by the compulsion we have toward stuffing ourselves silly on this day. These days I take a more centrist path. Obviously people work hard and deserve a day of rest and celebration. But beyond that, I became interested in the why behind the tradition of doing that, and found this, which helps me make sense of it all.
In this food, I see clearly
The presence of the universe
Supporting my existence.
-Thich Nhat Hanh
So today I hope to meditate on that as I joyfully fill my belly. It’s not necessary to stuff, but it’s okay to enjoy. It is an act of Thanksgiving.
But before the feast, on this quiet morning, I feel compelled to give thanks in prayer for this joyous mystery, this great struggle, the wild vastness of life and our journey through it. And for my brothers and sisters, all of humanity, who help make sense of it all. I see us today in joined hands across the universe, rainbow lightning between us, a bond that lies perhaps invisible, but strong and constant and energetic. Thank you.
I stayed up last night digging up poetry, grateful to the Internet for allowing me to indulge to my hearts content in the beauty of the written word. As I sat entranced by the likes of Mary Oliver and Charles Bukowski, I felt such wellspring of gratitude open up and flow in my heart. I am grateful to the artists of the world, those brave souls driven wildly to express the human condition, to share and so poignantly decree the triumphant spirit of the living.
I’ll leave off with a poem so happy and simple and joyous that it makes me cry. Gets me every time. It was read at my wedding and I’ll share it again and again as a happy reminder of my gratitude for life on this green earth.
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Let it be an action word!