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Yesterday was Thanksgiving. 

Today I want to briefly inform you or remind you of the history from which this holiday arises. While in elementary school we are told this is a holiday for celebrating our cooperation with the native Americans, in reality, cooperation was severely limited. More often than not, what occurred was the mass slaughtering of native people and, over the years, the indoctrination of the remaining native people into western colonial, protestant Christian culture. 

What has been a day of celebration for many people has remained a day of mourning for the indigenous cultures of these lands. People who still exist to this day and fight for the recuperation of their lost cultures and people as well as reparations. It is my intention to bring recognition and acknowledgment to these deserving people as we pave the way forward to a future of healing and inclusivity. 

We can’t heal what we won’t first acknowledge. Bearing witness with an open heart and mind is always the first step. If you lack awareness on the subject, then I encourage you to do your own reading on the matter. 

Despite the tragic nature of this day, I do affirm the overarching qualities and attributes of the day itself and what it has evolved into. There is much to give thanks for, and it’s always a joy to get to spend time with family and friends, even if it manifests differently this year amidst a pandemic. It is possible to hold the paradox of respectfully honoring great tragedy while loving and enjoying the present-day existence of community. In fact, we would not be whole without doing so. 

It is not either/or. It’s both/and. It is okay to revel in the goodness of life, even necessary. Similarly, it is necessary to dive deep into our collective tragedy and trauma. The latter being the more difficult branch of existence that many are unwilling to wrap their minds and hearts around as it is often the very thing we desire most to avoid. And, yet, it’s a very real part of life that without it we would not be fully in our human experience. 

The key is in understanding how to be fluid, knowing that the experience of such depths on either end is not permanent, rather they are momentary stops on a journey, which will inevitably fall away to give rise to the other. Cling not to the brevity, bliss, and joy. Hold lightly. Cling not to melancholy, heartache, and glum. Hold lightly. But in your holding lightly go deep. 

Feel and experience every square inch. Turn yourself inside out as you hit every nook and cranny. As you do so leave it all behind, taking with you only that which serves, knowing even what you take may soon leave as well. 

It’s in this ability to go deep and wide and high and out and every which way with as much presence as possible that we learn to be in our fullest human expressions. Unattached to life needing to be a certain way but allowing it to express itself as it is. Whether that be dark and heavy emotions or light, blissful experiences. Each rendering their own flavor and purpose. Each bringing immense value. One not greater or better than another. Honoring every expression just as it is. 

On this day, may you know your fullest human expression. May you honor and know your dark side and your light side. May you feel your grief and sadness and frustration as sacred. Just as sacred as your happiness, joy, and contentment. 

However you are on this day, may you honor yourself. And may you dive ever deeper into honoring our collective history by being fully present and aware of all our great trauma and tragedy as we mend and heal our collective wounds together.

May people of indigenous cultures all over the world desecrated by colonialism know ever deeper healing with each passing day. May we collectively come together to honor these people and these tragedies. 

Photo by Erica Li on Unsplash