We are in the middle of a pandemic. Our most learned and earnest medical experts are pleading with us to stay home and stay safe, to avoid even small family gatherings. But ... it's Thanksgiving. Of all the holidays we celebrate as Americans, Thanksgiving might be our most cherished. For most of us, this is the time of coming back to hearth and home, feasting with friends and family. This is a time steeped in tradition and these traditions are the ones that remind us that we have so much to be grateful for. And, like most of you, I treasure the chaos, the dirty pots and pans, the leftover stuffing, and even the political debates. (There was that year the dogs ate half the turkey and the time the kitchen sink clogged up.) But, this year will be different ... quieter. It will take more creative planning and scheduling to get everyone on Zoom, at least for a while, while we do our best to gather around our virtual table and drink in everyone's smiles, for we have the great good fortune of living in a time when this is possible.
Yesterday, I watched a documentary on the 1918 Flu (a.k.a. the Spanish Flu.) I was stunned by how little human behavior has changed in the 100+ years since that worldwide pandemic. From denial of its existence to outright rebellion against staying home and wearing masks, had it not been for the old newsreel footage, I would have thought the subject of the documentary was Covid-19 (also named for a far-off country in a weakly veiled attempt to place blame outside ourselves.) The upshot was this ... both pandemics have claimed more lives than either of the two world wars.
Two days ago, I heard that the number of lives lost per day to Covid-19 could be imagined as two jumbo jets a day falling from the sky for the past eight months. That's a vivid metaphor! We know that Boeing 737-Max jets were grounded for eight months after only two fatal crashes. Yet, we can't, as a nation, agree on mitigation efforts to beat the pandemic. And with Thanksgiving just days away ...
Well, what are we to do? We can't be blamed for the longing we feel for our loved ones on this special day. Our heartache is understandable. But, what if, instead of whining, "But it's Thanksgiving!" we choose to celebrate that we aren't victims of war or that the last plane we took didn't fall from the sky? What if we take a collective breath of real thanks-giving. How would our hearts feel different if we took a few moments to ourselves at the beginning of the day to imagine that we, as humans, are fortunate to live in a sea of Divine Love? That every breath we take is composed of love and nourishes every cell with love? The 13th century mystic, Rumi, wrote, "Love is from the Infinite and will remain until eternity." What if we behaved that way? Could we allow one year to pass without the tradition of gathering at the same table with our loved ones? Could we even express enough gratitude for our great good fortune to be able to "stay home and stay safe" while virtually dining together?
I am grateful for the opportunity to count the days, the precious days, before I can safely gather around a festive table with family and friends. I am thankful for the time available to perfect new recipes to wow next year's Thanksgiving guests (or the year after.) I allow myself to swim in the sea of Love that is my birthright and I wish with all my heart that everyone reading this does the same.
Make it a happy Thanksgiving, everyone! ~ Love and light, Dee
A note of thanks to Gretchen Addi for an engaging Zoom presentation on "Designing for Joy and Inspiration in Pandemic Times." She taught that we are all designers. When we employ simple principles of design within the constraints of health precautions imposed by the pandemic, we can creatively enrich our lives in ways that may be so satisfying as to outlast Covid-19 and become beloved rituals. Here's Gretchen with her husband dressed as 007 for an at-home date night. They choose a new theme each week and document their dates with photos, edited to include intriguing backgrounds. They share their pics with family and friends to inspire creativity and joy. What can you design to bring joy to this otherwise challenging time? How will you share it to inspire others? Comment by clicking on the word "comment" to the left of this post.
The Times They Are A-Changin’ by Bob Dylan
Come senators, congressman
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside raging
We'll soon shake your windows and
rattle your door
For the times they are a-changin’
Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don’t criticize what you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your “old road” is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand
For the times they are a-changin’
Yes, my friends, our “old road” is rapidly aging and changing in every sense of the word. We need to “get out a new one,” a new road, a new way, that might be hard to see clearly. But, we must try to embrace the inevitable. If we fight against it, we repel new opportunities ... for ourselves, our families, friends and so importantly, our country. As the energy and force of change are upon us we are called to face it with new vision. Throughout this season of gratitude and giving, gathering and glee, we are confronted with COVID-imposed changes to our cherished rituals. We can choose to use this time of change to refocus our energy. We can use this "time of rituals" to apply the balm of love, hope and compassion to ourselves and to others ... in new and creative ways. We can cool the "heat of pain, fear and grief" over the loss of familiar seasonal comforts. Our necessary sacrifices over these past difficult months can be celebrated as wisdom. Let us recognize that we are "one" joined in the spirit of love. Together, let's rise to the occasion and generate positivity as we find new ways to celebrate and embrace the joys of the season. ~ In love and gratitude, Sharon
There is plenty of election anxiety going around. I suspect that voters on either side will feel infuriated if they lose. That's one thing we will all have in common this election year. Like many voters, I've been considering what it will feel like if my choice for president doesn't win. I must admit that I'm already angry that the choices we have in front of us have divided us so bitterly as a nation. Or, as folks smarter than I have proposed, we've been quietly divided for decades, it's just that everything has been amplified through social media and frankly, some brazen and hateful public behavior. It's not my intention to rant or to preach. I simply want to offer these words of wisdom from one of my favorite juicy wise women, Maya Angelou: “If you’re not angry, you’re either a stone, or you’re too sick to be angry. You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger, yes. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.” This Thursday, just two days after Election Day, we may not know the results for certain, but we will know one thing ... we have each other to talk to. For those who have been gathering over the past five weeks, we've established a bond of caring and sharing. We listen with empathetic ears. So, let's "never stop talking it." If you haven't been to one of our gatherings but you have juicy wise women in your friend or family circle, rely on them when you're angry. They will listen respectfully to your anger and guide you from the cancer of bitterness. They will encourage you to express your anger respectfully ... to write it, to paint it, to dance it or march it ... to "do everything about it" ... AND to "never stop talking it" ... with respect. ~ Dee