Thanksgiving 2020: Being Present
Updated: Nov 24, 2020
In three days, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving in the middle of a novel, viral, pandemic. In the United States, over 250,000 souls have been lost from every walk of life. The economy is a mess with millions out of work due to Covid restrictions and/or businesses closing their doors, unable to survive under these conditions. A new president has been chosen amidst childish, dysfunctional refusal to transition our new leader into his new role by the sitting president.
That’s just the tip of an iceberg. Public lands are being auctioned off by the sitting—or should I say—golfing, tweeting president. Environmental protections have been abandoned at an alarming rate. Global warming has birthed record hurricanes. Fires have ravaged our forests in the western state. Human rights are being rolled back to Jim Crow, while a domestic terrorist or Nazi openly walked our streets, killed peaceful protesters, and then was released on bail. Oh, and lest we forget, it’s normalized to separate nursing infants from their mothers and cage them like animals. In America? What?
The list staggers our ability to conceive. Despite this, millions of Americans have worked on the frontlines helping us survive—literally. Healthcare workers are overworked, stressed, and dying while caring for others who are dying alone, separated from their families. Delivery persons hustle at a rate we’ve never seen before to deliver groceries and goods to our home so that we are safer. Grocery store workers struggle to quickly stock shelves of goods we would have never figured we would be unable to find—toilet paper.
And yet, in this oppressive, frightening, and depression-inducing mess, millions of Americans will sit down at some point on Thursday, November 26th, and give thanks for all they have been given.
Have no doubt, if you are reading this, you likely have something to eat in your abode. Further, you most likely have electricity and running, drinkable water. Most of you have a job or income. However, there is one commodity that is not available for purchase—your health.
While we sit down to give thanks on Thursday, let’s all commit to two things. One, let's be sure and give the Universe/G-d thanks for our health and life, even if it’s not perfect. So many over this week of gathering with those we love, though limited as it may be, are fighting, literally fighting for breath and life. Secondly, take a few minutes on Thursday, turn off any distractions, put down your phone, find a quiet spot, and be present.
So, you ask, what is “being present?” It’s simply a practice, whether it’s once, or throughout every day. In the quiet, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Imagine each inhalation is bringing in goodness and light, expanding the love your have within you. As you exhale allow a warm wave of relaxation to travel up your body from your feet to the top of your head. Think of that air going out as breathing out toxins, stress, fear, pain, and hate.
Do this for several breaths or for longer if you so desire. Feel the contours of your body, its perimeter, its shape. Breath. Be the observer of you.
When you are done, think about all you have been given. Despite all the chaos, we find ourselves in at this moment, we can exit the storm for a few breaths or an hour. I promise you will be thankful you did.
If you can, share some of your horn of plenty with someone less fortunate: a bag of groceries for that neighbor out of work, a plate of dinner for that feeble senior, or buy some larder for the local food bank.
No matter how you celebrate, just don’t forget the “giving” in Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving. Be safe. This too shall pass.