“We are living in an extraordinary moment. It’s extraordinarily extreme. It’s extraordinarily painful. It’s extraordinarily complex. It’s extraordinarily nuanced. It’s extraordinarily full of potential.” ~ Chani Nicholas
Thanksgiving is, hands down, my favorite national holiday.
I’ve always loved the simplicity of gathering with family and friends, eating delicious home-cooked foods, vegging out and enjoying the moment.
Especially in comparison with the chaos of Christmas a month later and the inevitable stress and wastefulness of gift buying, wrapping and unwrapping and several consecutive days of overeating and drinking, rather than just one.
Today, my plan is to work and then go have Thanksgiving dinner with my hubby and daughter in the mid-afternoon at a local restaurant. I’m an expat living in Guatemala, where Thanksgiving is not celebrated except by my fellow expats, and my schedule is just that flexible, and also my knees, ankles, wrists and other joints are sore, making fast movement impossible.
Why? I got bitten by a spider (we think) about a month ago. I didn’t see it or feel the bite at the moment, but the next day my ankle swelled up and I had a fever. The lingering joint pain comes and goes.
I was also stung by a scorpion about a year ago. On my fingertip! That, I felt right away. It was an intense pain that lasted for about four hours.
Why bring this up?
Well, just to say that Thanksgiving (and daily life in general) is a time to appreciate not only the good people, plentiful things and pleasurable experiences in our lives—but also to be grateful for the difficult people, emotions and passages that we encounter. A plethora of amazing things have happened in this, my personal “year of the scorpion.”
“The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with.
To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes. ” ~Pema Chödrön
I am grateful for the love and friendship I share every day with my family and family of friends. I am grateful for our little house and to always have enough food and water. I am grateful for my body and breath and life. Obviously.
I am also grateful for pain, both physical and emotional, because pain is a sign of growth and healing.
I am grateful for having been fired from my job as a school teacher earlier this year, because that has paved the way for major improvements in both my career and my quality of life.
I am grateful for the difficult people in my life, because they force me to see my areas of weakness and resistance. They hold up a mirror to teach me valuable lessons.
I am grateful for impermanence, also known as change, which keeps things fresh and lively. I am grateful for where I now live and what I now do with my time.
I am grateful for the lake, the sky, the volcanoes, the trees, the flowers, the incessant glory of nature.
I am grateful for my fellow writers, my editors and my readers. Thank you for reading!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus
Editor: Catherine Monkman