Here in the United States, some will be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, while others will be protesting with a National Day of Mourning or an Unthanksgiving. While I believe it is happening all over the world, I can speak more so to what I have been witnessing and feeling on a national level here in the States: we are in a time of reckoning.
This time of reckoning is painful and it is needed and necessary. We are seeing a reckoning in all areas of our lives and within society.
Whether it is an awakening about the origins of holidays that we celebrate, such as Thanksgiving, or a light being shone on political structures that are not serving those they are intended to serve and support, or racist structures and policies that harm some and favor others, or a recognition of the inequalities in our education system seen even more so now because of COVID — more of us are calling out the emperor for having no clothes.
Our work of healing and light
It may seem like with that (heavy) introduction that I’m going to be writing with my “sociologist/social critical-ist” lens today, discussing all that is wrong and that needs to be made whole and right. While that is — and I’m assuming always will be — a lens with which I view the world, and it is a starting point, today more than anything I want to lovingly remind you that you are the light.
As I continue to do my work — educating myself about untold or white-washed histories, reading works written from the point of view of those with different lived realities than my own, and intentionally working to broaden what I hear, read, experience, touch, taste, and so on — I have come to realize that in honoring what has been and is dark in our shared history allows me to live in even more gratitude.
To be clear, I am not grateful for the awful ways we have treated one another (of which I have been a part); instead, I am grateful that I am here at this time and called to step forward to be one small part of the collective healing that is underway.
Each of us on this journey — of finding our place, our voice, our alignment in the sacred work of healing the collective — is going to stumble, say it wrong, hurt others, and feel vulnerable and scared about not measuring up.
My question to you is this: Are you able to accept that and still move forward doing the work of the light you are here to do?
I believe to the very core of my being that we each (with a few very rare exceptions) have within us the ability to be a light-worker and take part in healing the collective in which we are all inextricably linked.
There is no light without the dark, though. Too often throughout our history — and still yet today — we have not acknowledged this inextricable link between us all. We have not realized that when we hurt another we are also hurting ourselves. We have not realized that when we fail to see the humanity of another we harm and chip away at our own humanity.
I believe this age of COVID has put a spotlight on these facts: what we do matters, how we show up matters, and we are all linked. We truly are all connected.
How gratitude led me
So, now that I have brought up issues of race, politics, inequalities, and a worldwide pandemic, I’m going to come to what I had originally planned to write about today: gratitude.
How did gratitude lead me to touch on these painful topics today?
I am grateful that my eyes are opened to truth, no matter how painful that truth may be. I am grateful that I am still here at a time when so many (myself included) are feeling the tremendous loss of loved ones. I am grateful that I can choose to make today more just and inclusive and fair than yesterday, and that I can (Universe/God-dess/Spirit willing) get up tomorrow and make that choice again.
While it’s not accurate to say that I am grateful for COVID, I am grateful for the lessons it has taught me and for the reminders it has given me and the internal reckonings it has brought about that has me living from a better place than I was eight months ago.
It is true that we are living in a time of great reckonings and uprisings and pandemics and uncertainty.
It is also true that we are living in a time of great change and awakenings and possibility, and at least from my perspective, a time of hope and love.
I want to acknowledge again that facing the truth of our history — whether the history of our family or our nation — can be incredibly painful. I see that. I have witnessed that. I have struggled with that within my own self.
It can be easier to turn away, or to tell the truth-tellers to be quiet and just go with the intention. I mean, we’re celebrating being thankful, right?
It is through opening our eyes and our hearts and our minds that we celebrate that which is far more important than any one holiday, like Thanksgiving in the U.S. We celebrate the very core of who we are. We truly honor ourselves and who and where we come from. We honor and celebrate our light and humanity, which binds us all together.
Celebrating a day of gratitude
So, while I do not celebrate Thanksgiving in a traditional way, I do celebrate a day of thanks and gratitude. And, this year, I am very clear about how much I have to be thankful for. I am immensely blessed and fortunate and I will be taking time in the coming days to really acknowledge and celebrate that.
In closing, I have a few reminders and gentle, loving nudges/requests for you:
- Remember that there is not light without the dark. And, you are the light. It is inside of you, always.
- Here is a line from the song Be A Light: “Don’t hide in the dark, you were born to shine.”
- Even if you do not celebrate Thanksgiving or do not live here in the States, will you take the time this week to share with at least one person what you are grateful for? And, ask them to share with you what they are grateful for?
- Dear reader, I am grateful for you. Thank you for being here and using your precious time to connect with me in this way, which allows me to bring an important part of myself forward.
- As a request from me to you… will you share something with me that you are grateful for, as well? I would love to hear from you.