If the only prayer you ever say in your life is “thank you,” that would suffice.
– Meister Eckhart
1. The Treasures are in the Whole Truths
There is power in reclaiming what has been misnamed, misused, appropriated and discarded. When I was in college, I started calling Thanksgiving “Thankstaking”. I’d learned too much about Plymouth Rock and its aftermath for the original name to still feel appropriate.
Truth is, within 54 years of the the Wampanoag teaching English settlers how to fish, cultivate crops and inaugurate what is now known as “Thanksgiving”:
- The once 50-100,000 strong nation had been nearly obliterated by three years of a devastating plague brought by the English.
- Forty percent of the plague survivors were killed in a 14-month war with the English colonists.
- Many of the men who survived the war were enslaved in the Caribbean.
- Many of the surviving women were enslaved in New England.
Today, 4 to 5,000 Wampanoag remain. While there is a resurgence movement towards cultural restoration, most Wampanoag do not speak the language or know the traditional cultural or spiritual beliefs and practices.
While the pilgrims may have been grateful for what they had been given, they were also grateful for what they took.
This is not about schlepping or shoveling guilt. This is about telling the whole truth and trusting that it carries more treasures than the half truths from which we console ourselves.
Do the pilgrims have important stories? Absolutely. Is their version of Thanksgiving the whole story? Not by any stretch of the imagination.
The whole truth is not always soft, comforting, gentle or easy. It can feel challenging and disarming, unsettling and unpleasant. It can push you way past your comfort zone and force you to come to terms with everything that’s actually on the table.
But staying cloistered in partial truths keeps you detached, out of touch and completely unaware of the realm of possibility. It limits your perspective and restricts your options.
Tell yourself the whole truth. Find the buried treasure.
2. We all have a story
We all have a history. We all have stories. Being thank-full is about owning and being grateful for your FULL life–wonders, warts, wrinkles and all. It is about being willing to look at everything and find the gifts in your experiences–even when they are painful–even if you wish they’d never happened. Especially if you’d rather brush them under the carpet and revise a more comforting version of the story.
Because wishing the past would be different is not gratitude, my love.
I know things happen. Horrible things. Painful things. Gruesome things you would never wish on your worst enemy, no matter what they did.
But your story is important. It is invaluable and it is yours. It holds the key and the treasure.
The past cannot be any different, no matter how much we will it sometimes. But there are gems to be excavated and lessons to be learned that only your story can furnish.
Owning your story gives you power to create something different–TODAY.
3. Gratitude transcends all
There is always something to be grateful for–always. It’s up to you to find what it is–every single day.
Today, I’m grateful for you. Yes, you.
For my ability to read, write and express myself without worrying about being persecuted or silenced.
For my family, friends, ancestors and elders.
For anyone who ever said something kind, encouraging, strengthening or supportive.
For every, single woman who has attended a SisterFire gathering or worked with me 1-on-1.
For hard and easy lessons and the ability to grow.
For belly laughs, sweet snuggles, good food and great sex.
For this moment and all of the ones before it that have enabled it to be possible.
For grace, compassion, generosity and rage.
For mama earth.
For artists, visionaries, teachers, creatives and curios.
For those whose voices and stories we will never know, but whose lives allowed us to be here now.
For all of this and so much more, I give thanks.
All my love,