Finally, and belatedly, I'm thankful for those painful moments of embarrassment about my own past behavior or speech or thought that, when I can see past the cringe factor, let me see and appreciate the growth and progress I've made in my skills, values, empathy, or compassion. The moment isn't always fun, but it does always provide a powerful lens to view progress in a way that few other experiences do, and it never fails to inspire me to want to go further in the directions I strive, in hopes that over time, I'll behave less and less frequently in ways that cause me embarrassment after the fact.
I'm so thankful for the many people who have been hurt by people who had power over them, and by the systems the powerful create, who are finding their voices and ways to speak up and out, or to work against the system quietly, or to find whatever way they can to make the world less likely to hurt the next person than it was to hurt them. They inspire us all to be helpers.
I'm grateful for my home and housemates. They've been away for the last few days, and that's been a pleasure of a sort that living alone all the time wouldn't provide. But ti also makes me appreciate how much I enjoy sharing a house with friends, the opportunistic hanging out that can occur without anyone having to go out of their way, the shared cooking, eating, socializing. I feel incredibly lucky to have a physical home that I find so pleasant and inviting to be in, and to host others in, and to share it with people with whom I have easy living-alongside relationships.
I'm thankful for the natural world, and the fact that we get to experience it as beautiful. There's no evolutionary reason that we have to find nature beautiful, but we do anyway. I've read that there have even been times in history when people really didn't find beauty in the natural world, which ... what a loss. I love nature's small beauties like a bunny on a grassy lawn, or a bee wiggling its furry way into a flower. And I of course love nature's grandest vistas, those vast expanses that make me feel so satisfyingly small and insignificant.
Like every year, I happily reserve Thanksgiving proper to give thanks for the people in my life who make it everything that it is. It doesn't even make sense to imagine my life without the people in my days, my months, my years, and the lives we make together, and in parallel, and in broad community with each other. Almost all of my most treasured blessings in life are my friends and family, or things those people have brought into my life with them. Every day, I feel lucky in the people I know, and the more difficult the world is, the more grateful I am in my near and dear, and the sense of hope they help me to nurture, even in darker times.
I've been grateful almost every day this year for my newfound meditation practice. It's hard to describe what a difference it's making, because so much of it is inside me and kind of amounts to, "Well, I just FEEL different from how I did before." But it's true. It's been like hitting the gas on my personal development, helping me be kinder, more thoughtful, more gentle, while also holding myself to a standard that I'm raising a little bit each day.
Daily meditation helped me through the dark days of last winter, and have given me a powerful light to shine on my internal world and values, to be able to deepen my sense of myself and where I'm coming from, while also loosening the grip I have on that sense.
I have a lot of that convert's zeal about it, but every day it's a gift I give myself, and it's one that's making my world better each time.
This has been a fucking exhausting year, and one that has seen an unusual amount of change, both locally and globally. Looking back on a year ago, I felt so bleak and desperate, and I'm glad to say that level of feeling has shifted to something that feels more sustainable. But there's still a lot of bleakness and desperation in the world, and it all sure feels turned up right now.
So, I'm thankful for the people who are shining lights in these times. I'm grateful for the victims and survivors of abuse and harassment who are finding the incredible courage to speak out against their abusers. I'm grateful for the activists who are working against the systems of oppression in our society. I'm grateful for the people who find ways to bring greater kindness to their days and to build their capacity to see others' humanity. I'm grateful for people who make others smile and laugh, even in dark times. I'm grateful for the people who fuck up and then get up and aim to do better next time.
You know you want to!
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It's particularly interesting to me that I'm seeing that sentiment pretty frequently from other Trump supporters.
I can see how, for folks who have hopes about positive effects of a Trump presidency, it's important to be able to dismiss others' disappointments without reflecting too much on them, or on what it means about the incoming PEOTUS. And while it's true that no politician keeps all the promises they make during a campaign, I think it's fair to say that Trump is breaking more promises more quickly than average.
So what I want to ask you, if the above describes you, is: What would be too far? What would be the promise that Trump would have to break for you to look more critically on his presidency? IS there a promise he would have to break to make you think, "Actually, no, this is a bad dude who is doing bad things for the country."? Or are you an unconditional follower? If you don't believe the critiques of him as a person who lies more than average, even for a politician, or as a kleptocratic authoritarian, is there anything he could do to change your mind?
If there is, write it down. You don't have to share it with me, or with anyone, although I'm curious to hear it if you ARE willing to share. But write it down, and look at it from time to time, just to be sure you're not following blindly someone who has broken your trust the way he's broken all these other people's trust.