My Thanksgiving morning traditions would make an OCD sufferer jealous. I get up at 3:00 anyway and am booked til 4:30 with routine. On Thanksgiving that journey takes the other side of the fork in the turkey – I am responsible for the turkey so that goes in by 6:00 because no matter what the math is no turkey is ever ready before 1:00 ever. Ever.
I dress for Thanksgiving and always have. I also have always had a dog and a cigar. Around 6:15, turkey in the oven and tie on, I get aforementioned dog and aforementioned cigar, and we walk while the sun comes up. The intention is to reflect personally on what I have to be thankful for, the reality is that it tires the dog out so there is less of him underfoot (for some reason my dogs have all been male except for my first, I wonder about that sometimes). You have to be careful where you flick ash on autumn walks although typically frost fireproofs. The sky is always clearer than it is on any other time except Christmas Eve night, even if it is pouring. Gray skies against orange leaves is ambiance, baby.
The act of giving thanks is portrayed as simple but draws out some depth of philosophy. I have friends of the you-get-what-you-earn and you-have-what-you-want-the-most and life-gives-you-what-you-give-it mentality. I wonder how that vantage point gives thanks to anything other than itself. Paucity of spirit is fear-based, but it is also reductive. As I walk past an orange tree against a gray sky, neither one (tree/sky) falls on me. None of my doing, and yet there is a good thing. In fact, the whole gray sky holds the whole blue/green earth in an astronomical womb. None of my doing, and yet there is a good thing. To be thankful for.
It then becomes a matter of degree. I have agnostic friends. That does not make them unobservant of the grace that can occur between people, and they are thankful for that, but only that. I have religious friends who attribute all to a Higher Power, and all thanks are directed there. Kind of the opposite of the agnostic, there is at least thanks, but it is missing a dimension or two.
I am both Christian and Buddhist. It is no picnic explaining that BUT it does allow for a multi-layered gratitude. I know very very much of a Higher Power, and have been witness to and subject of miraculous events. I also have traveled leagues down into the sea of detachment, for which the act of thanks is a transgression.
The spectrum of gratitude, I find, is a correlate of the spectrum of spirit. The more open the eyes and mind and heart, the more gratitude happens. To whom/what ever. To those that shirk gratitude and spirituality and the pursuit of happiness, to those that feel they deserve what they have and so does everyone else, I guess I would say this. It’s a workable approach, just like white bread with jar sauce and grated parmesan is a form of pizza. But the more you are able to open your gaze, the more there is to see, and the more there is to be grateful for.
I hope you have a tremendous Thanksgiving. On my walk tomorrow (I will post what I wear) I will think of you as a community, who have embraced these first few months. I am grateful that we expanded, I am grateful that we weeded, and I am grateful that all the compass arrows are pointed in the right direction. I am really grateful for all your kind notes. Those are great to get. I hope that this space continues to be one where we can appreciate classic and beautiful things, think faceted thoughts, enjoy five minutes, and when the opportunity presents, lift somebody else up.
Thanks for everything, really.