I’m feeling especially grateful this Thanksgiving as it seems the last few weeks have brought tremendous loss and grief to a few friends and loved ones around me. I have watched as they have moved through these difficult days with grace and courage and even still manage to embrace concepts like gratitude in the midst of such pain. I would like to think I too would be able to breathe through these moments of life that seem so cruel and come out on the other side, but I suppose it’s easy to think this if you are not in the midst of something that feels impossible. I am incredibly thankful for these brave souls who are staying in the game of life even though they know pain and loss are inevitable. They are a strong lot that remind us all of the choice we have to shift our perceptions when life gets messy. They are flexible enough to accept that the universe does not exist to make our lives pleasant and easy at every turn, but courageous in facing the darkness and determined to once again find joy and peace in their lives. I admire their vulnerability and am immensely grateful for the simple reminder that for most of us this day of thanks, our cups runneth over in abundance.
And now, because she says it much more eloquently than I could, a passage written by Karina Allrich on one of my favorite food blogs (http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/). She has this to say about giving thanks:
“Life is breathtakingly rare, intricately fragile, and so surprising. Perhaps that's why we set apart one day a year to ponder gratitude. I'm all for it. I'm all for it because of all the petty, surface level annoyances we endure, all the itches and aches and heartbreaks and mundane difficulties, all the tricks and rationalizations we serve ourselves to distract ourselves, just to survive. To get through the day. To endure until tomorrow. To re-imagine what is possible. Or ignore the inevitable. To flirt with meaning. To invite love in. To create a connection. To let go of something toxic. To embrace something raw or something tender. To risk something wonderful. Or scary. Because the risk gleams with promise.
The microcosm of this past year has been the microcosm of my life. Contractions and expansions. Sloughing off and gathering in. New family created. Old friends cut loose. There's been some blooming. And some fading. Inner strength gained. Muscles softened. Authenticity inches one step closer. Understanding melts into compassion. For myself, first of all. I am learning to hold my imperfections to the light and examine them with less acidity. This single choice alone creates more room for compassion toward others. It's true what the sages say about loving yourself first. I no longer care to be my own worst enemy. I'll leave that purpose to someone else.
Life Aging burnishes you. And tenderizes your heart. And things fall away. Often by themselves. So many concerns I once worried about- and obsessed over- are beginning to lose their charm, their once magnetic hold on me. What is important is spinning a new magic, a silvery soft magic that you can almost inhale just before dark, when the sky deepens into that particular November blue and tastes like snow.”