Happy Thanksgiving! The “official” beginning of Autumn….On October 8, 2022 by Pam
The signs of Autumn definitely begin after Labour Day – we hang on to summer until September 21st but, it comes nonetheless with cool weather and frost, leaves changing colours, apples on trees and bright sunny days with blue skies and fluffly clouds. In my house, it means canning applesauce and apple pie filling, freezing tomatoes for sauce in the winter, making soups and buying mums and pumpkins to decorate both inside and outside. Finally, it means bringing in my “indoor” plants for the winter – to prepare them for another summer outside.
It is easy to be thankful when life is good and everything is going our way. When people are kind and the world is revolving on its axis as it should. We list the things we are thankful for – family, friends, prosperity and health – the ability to move and work and love and laugh. But, life is bittersweet and with joy comes sorrow and it is okay to feel both and to feel them at the same time.
It is important to embrace our thoughts and feelings, including the difficult ones. They are appropriate responses to the challenges of being alive. We need to use our pain as a source of information about what matters most to us and then to act on it. This Thanksgiving, I will practice the invitation to investigate the bitter and commit to the sweet. Acknowledge the pain, embrace the emotions, accept all the feelings, thoughts and memories and expect that sometimes I will feel overwhelmed. Don’t allow unhelpful thoughts and suggestions such as “get over it” or “it’s your fault” or “life is unfair”. We have to accept difficulties, breathe through them and be nonjudgemental. We move forward to connect with what matters and move forward to take committed action to be better, more compassionate and empathetic people.
I grew up in a fundamentalist, prosperity gospel environment. In this atmosphere, being good enough, giving enough and having enough faith allows you to experience happiness and prosperity. This is such dangerous thinking because when sorrow comes, and it always does, you feel that somehow if you had just been more faithful or behaved better or done the right things, or prayed enough or read the Bible more – the sorrow would not have happened.
Every laugh we share, every touch is a reminder to me that reality can, indeed, change. From trauma rises the soul, incandescent and perfect. It was always there, waiting to be embraced. Heal yourself, by healing others.
So, this Thanksgiving, I am going to be thankful for my ability to embrace love and loss – to wish others well – to understand and see life clearly, in all its bittersweetness. There are ships sailing to many ports, but not a single one goes where life is not painful. I am thankful for my ability to feel, to appreciate the feelings of others, to show empathy and to reach forward and connect with what matters – making the world around us a place of acceptance with a candid and compassionate approach to life.