Celebration/Commemoration: Embracing Complexity
On this American Thanksgiving Day, I’m thinking about all the ways our amazing brains hold complexity, even paradox. We can let go of the need to fix ourselves while continuing to evolve. We can feel deep joy and great sorrow. We can be grateful and accountable. We embody shadows and light.
Here are 5 ways to celebrate/commemorate this festive holiday and National Day of Mourning:
1. Get granular with your gratitudes. This has the neurological effect of activating our Sage brain. Instead of “I’m thankful for my health” speak to what it is about your health that you’re thankful for, like “I’m thankful that my body is so strong as I start to feel the very real impacts of aging.”
2. Resist the compulsion to focus only on the good. This holiday is built on a mythology that whitewashes a significant history of genocide. What learning and unlearning do you want to activate? Trust that your brain is sophisticated enough to hold both holiday cheer and a fearless examination of the truth. Bonus points if you bring these ponderings up in conversation with others today. [Google “Rethinking Thanksgiving Toolkit” for a great resource for the Indigenous Solidarity Network.]
3. Claim your own history. What is your cultural background? What have you inherited, both in terms of potential trauma as well as gifts? Who were the magic-makers in your lineage and how are you carrying these special powers forth today? As I explore my eastern European roots more deeply, I become more aware of all the little and big traditions in my family that are rooted in a sense of place. I understand why aligning with the seasonal cycles resonates so deeply with me. I am also culturally Catholic – it’s a religion, sure, and a historically patriarchal one at that, and it’s also where my embodied sense of social justice sprung from. As well as my love of candles, incense and ritual, my experience of breaking bread with kin, and the matter-of-fact way I’ve come to relate to mystery (my understanding or belief in something is not required for the Truth of something). I claim all of it.
4. The Tarot for today is 10 of Cups: A Time of Peace. This Cups card brings us to a ripening maturity when it comes to our emotions. We hold strong boundaries while also sharing rituals of celebration and thankfulness with our community. While much of our Shadow journey is about learning to rely on ourselves and our relationship with the Divine, we know that none of us live in isolation and to think so is to be under the clutches of our saboteurs. Ultimately, the 10 of Cups is a call for peace after struggle. What if Thanksgiving became Peacegiving? What new actions might you incorporate?
5. Rest. For some of us, this may be the most challenging step of all. Today, think about Rest in terms of little pockets of time that nourish your spirit. Mark each “pocket” in 3-5 minute increments. You might just close your eyes while you’re in the bathroom. You might step out for a walk around the block. You might secretly rub your fingertips together while feeling the exquisite detail of your fingerprints. You might let your eyes glaze over and escape to your inner Happy Place where you have a quick touchstone encounter with your inner Wise One. Whatever it is for you, aim to find at least 3 pockets of time for Rest. It’ll do your spirit good. 🧡
Thank you for being here. My heart is filled with love for you and I wish you a day brimming with complexity, wholeness, and Peace,