A Few Thoughts on Giving Thanks, Harvests, and Fashion
In the US today, we celebrate Thanksgiving, commemorating the 1620 arrival of English Pilgrims to Plymouth, MA (not far from where I grew up) where they were graciously received by the Wampanoag people. Over time, it has become a quintessential American holiday—a cause to gather together, pause and reflect, to celebrate the joys of sharing a (big) meal, and above all, to give thanks. I've learned that a state of gratitude is like exercise for a healthy soul, so any day that makes me pause to be grateful for all that Is, is in my opinion, worth celebrating. Yet, the history of this holiday is as rife as most history is, with oppression, pain, loss, and strife. I'm especially reminded of that as Native Americans protests to the Dakota Access Pipeline are met with continued violence and oppression. Shouldn't being thankful for what we each have necessitate acknowledging and respecting what other people are thankful to have as well (like their ancestral land and clean water)?
The idea of giving thanks after a harvest is deeply rooted in many cultures and traditions around the world as our agrarian history necessitated a deep reliance on the land, a trust in spirits or deities, and a feeling of deep interconnectedness with the natural world and all the beings in it. As industrialization has separated us from those more primal needs, it seems we've filled the void by transitioning ever more towards consumerism. It's not insignificant that the day after we give thanks is now dedicated to consumption. And a part of that consumption is fashion. I've been getting a stream of Black Friday emails prompting me to already start directing my attention away from appreciation towards acquisition. Away from feeling full towards, again, feeling empty.
Last year, I can tell you, I took the bait. I was getting ready for my brother and sister-in-law's wedding and eagerly planning what I'd wear and the sales that kicked off this time of year prompted me into shopping mode. This year, I'm going another route. I'm deleting on arrival all sale emails and, since I'm an online shopper, I'm going to skip out on all Cyber Monday activity. Instead, I'm going to hang with the feeling of fullness for a few days here and see how it feels to be truly mindful, and deeply grateful, for the fact that I already have everything I need.
For those of you who read along here, for your kind and inquisitive comments, your emails and messages and for dedicating your precious time and energy to being present, I am profoundly grateful, not just today, but every day.
Feature image is of a Cheyenne woman photographed in 1878 in Montana by L. A. Huffman via The Huffington Post.
ps...My apologies for so much silence around here. I'm back to posting daily! Also, I came across this list of ways to help the Standing Rock Protestors this Thanksgiving and wanted to share it with you.