Gratitude-the Original Thanksgiving Message.

Nanakooa’s Healing Place In the midst of the trends of family pressure, the expectation of the “perfect meal” and media invasion (Black Friday Sales) let’s remember the origin of this day, Gratitude for a bountiful harvest and for generous help of others; without these we cannot survive.

I am fortunate to be surrounded by people who embrace the concept of Thanksgiving as a day of Gratitude. I have seen and heard many expressions of Thankfulness and Appreciation, mostly for the non-material gifts in life. Of course having such wonderful people in my life this doesn’t happen by accident or pure luck. I’ve been thinking and writing about personal choice lately after realizing that, as a learned response to being victimized, I had accepted a sense of powerlessness. I believed I was at the mercy of my environment and other people who would choose to manipulate that environment. Life was something that happened to me and it was my job (I thought) to just buck up and make the best of things. Naturally this world view does little to inspire gratitude or hope and it tends to attract people and situations that do not serve our best interests. I remember being surrounded by people who could only focus on the negative aspects of Holidays; having to be with family they don’t get along with, pressuring themselves to have the “perfect” meal and getting up at 3 am the next day to be pushed and shoved around by rabid shoppers vying for 10 dollar microwaves. These individuals, whether they had been victimized in the traditional sense of not, obviously were operating with the same blueprint I was. They allowed themselves to be controlled by whatever expectations family or society or the media had dealt them, and they tried to make the best of it. Making the best of something that is not authentically your desire is hard work, it’s exhausting and in the end we are usually dissatisfied with the results in on way or another. Unfortunately many people never consider that they have options, that they have the power of choice.
Eventually we realize that if we make choices that are aligned with our values and desires the world won’t fall apart, that everyone we love will not abandon us (although some may be pissed off!) nor will any other of the fears that keep us from being true to ourselves will manifest. Once we reach this point we are able to create Holiday traditions that express the best intentions of celebration.
I frequently make gratitude lists, it’s something I learned I AODA treatment and it has become an important element in my road to recovery. It helps me to maintain perspective and it helps me to know myself, what makes me grow and what brings me happiness. By clarifying all these elements I find it easier to make goals, to set intentions to plan and work for toward creating the kind of lifestyle that suits my individual needs and desires. I hope that at least this one day of thanks can help others do the same.

One last side note, we often see this holiday as the beginning of the White mans genocide of the Native Americans. While I have both native and puritan ancestry, I believe that at this point there was harmony between the two cultures. Each lived simply from the earth and respected the gifts the earth gave in return. It wasn’t until investors, profit seekers and big business discovered the settlers could be manipulated and used to serve their own greed did things start to go bad. It is the same greed and profiteering that ruins so many peoples 4 day weekends with the repeated messages about Black Friday. Sure consumers are getting some “good deals” comparatively speaking, but the wealthy are sitting back, enjoying whatever it is they enjoy on their day off and raking in huge profits. I prefer not to give them the satisfaction, because that’s my choice.
Have a Blessed and Grateful day,
Peace,
Jenny

 © 2010 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

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About nanakoosa

Me...I am a trained Advocate and Counselor with 20 years experience working with Youth and Families. My most recent employment brought me to the field of Domestic and Sexual Violence Counseling and support. I myself am a Survivor of violence and have been on both side of the service desk, which provides for a unique, often conflicting, theoretical orientation. I am a regular blogger, journal keeper and story teller. My current focus is to give voice to the experiences of survivors, to shine some light in the dark corners of family life where all the spiders and creepy things hide. I also enjoy writing about my unconventional childhood in the tumultuous 60's and am dabbling in memoir writing. I have three wonderful children, two fabulous granddaughters and an assortment of pets. View all posts by nanakoosa

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