As we come up on Thanksgiving my Facebook feed is starting to fill up with commentary about “The real history of Thanksgiving.” Most of it is true, and most of it I am familiar with. America was built on the backs of people who shared their labor and their knowledge. Rather than responding with gratitude, our white European fore bearers appropriated their gifts and made sure their stories written out of history.
So I want to take some time to be grateful. I am grateful to be able to live on this bounteous beautiful land.
I am grateful for wild rice, and corn, and pumpkins and all the food that is indigenous. I’m grateful to see tribal people standing up for their land rights against fracking and pipeline building, knowing how destructive those technologies are to the environment. I’m grateful for the people who share the history not taught in our schools and who tell the stories of the downtrodden.
I’m grateful for the immigrant cultures that have brought so much variety to my life. I’m grateful for fried rice and tortillas and collard greens.
I’m grateful for print and color patterns and architectural wonders that were never a part of my European heritage. I’m grateful for literature with points of view that are different from my own, but which make it easier for me to shift my own perspective. I’m grateful for the music, the meditation, and the technologies that make my life easier and more pleasant.
I have been blessed in my life with the opportunity to travel. I have been in positions to decorate my home with artwork from other cultures. I have had the opportunity to work and play and truly get to know people whose upbringing was very different from my own.
I’ve recently started an online meditation series Headspace. As I move through the meditation lessons they ask me to reflect on who else benefits from my practicing these techniques. Trying to build a business speaking on spirituality I ask myself, “who do I serve? Who needs to hear what I have to say?”
I think the cultures and people who supported the development of this country had that attitude.
“How can I help? Who can I serve?”
I think our culture has an attitude of “What do I get out of it?” I’d rather live with the former.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to try.