On Gratitude and Thanksgiving
“Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.”
- Abraham Joshua Heschel
There was a time in my life, a predominant time, where the wounds of my past ruled my present. I was afflicted with bitterness, envy, anger, pity, and even hatred, on occasion. These poor wounds, untended and unacknowledged, held me in a constant state of sadness, and sometimes held me in fear. Some of these wounds were wounds of emotion, trapped in my nervous system, doomed to never complete but to cycle over and over. Some of these were wounds of the soul, where parts of me were missing, parts of me were cursed. All of these at one point overwhelmed me so much that the mere thought of leaving my house or feeding myself, or bathing, was beyond my comprehension. It was a dark, sad, and deeply lonely time where I broke over and over again. I could feel the light within me dimming, and my connection to the warmth fading. I could feel myself separating from myself, searching for meaning, desperate for respite from the gelid void.
Finally, after one particularly dark and empty day, I asked for help. I admitted that I could not see a path out of the pain cycles, and I didn’t want to feel so desperately sad anymore. I missed Heather. I missed her warmth. I reached out. Gratefully, I was surrounded by people committed to healing who could make recommendations for me regarding professional support, and those partnerships in support helped me to discover an inner place of resilience, a pure, unified core, that flowed into my wounds and salved them. An essence that enabled my nervous system to repair, that rewired my brain, creating new pathways oriented towards self-care, nourishment, boundary, and health. I was no longer at the mercy of my past, and for the first time in my life, I was able to greet the present moment. To exist in the now. A more honest, authentic, tender, caring, compassionate, and aware version of myself that no longer bore the burdens of a life of hardship, abuse, and neglect. In fact, and I consider this the miracle of healing, I was able to forgive, both myself and others, and I was able to see my life in a new light; free of story, free of activation, and free of pain. I was able to source a depth of gratitude for the darkest days of my life and was able to thank them for breaking open my heart, so I could walk with deep and unyielding compassion and understanding. I was able to embrace and walk with grace, blessed beyond all belief.
Upon undertaking a great deal of physiological, emotional, energetic, and psychological healing, the path of spiritual healing then revealed itself to me. My relationship to spirit has always existed, and many of the great spiritual teachings supported me in the darkest of my days, yet I rejected spirit for I felt rejected by spirit. A renewed curiosity filled me, curious about how rekindle and deepen my relationship with spirit and how to step forward on my own authentic path of and with integrity, the gateways to spiritual guidance and wisdom presented and re-presented themselves to me. My dreams returned. Animals in waking life starting appearing at opportune times. The stars shone brighter and I could hear the trees whispering again on the wind. I felt my human connection to earth, to water, again. Grateful for the return of my relationship to spirit, my heart grew and grew, expanding until it encompassed all of consciousness itself.
This beautiful path of healing and awareness will continue throughout my days on this Earth. As long as there is suffering, the path of healing will remain, a companion to those who seek to try, to heal. Ever the human onion, I am grateful for each of the awakenings, insights, and experiences that reveal new layers, spaces, and places within that require my tending and care. I truly believe that we all are inherently capable of healing and thriving, regardless of lineage, circumstance, or experience. We are extraordinary. You are extraordinary. Our bones and flesh are built from the dust of stars, our souls are infinite and eternal, and we live on a planet of beauty, wonder, darkness, and hope. We have access to an abundance of benevolent, enlightening, confronting, and powerful wisdom from spirit, all we need do is avail ourselves of its presence. To tend to this relationship, is to tend to ourselves.
Today I share some of my story with you under the auspices of Thanksgiving. Today, and for all days, I give thanks for this experience we call life. For the joys and the sorrows, the people and the places, the sentients and the stars, I give thanks. For you, I am ever grateful. Thank you for joining me on this journey of life, may it heal you and lead you ever home to yourself, one little, beautiful, breadcrumb at a time. And wherever and however you define your relationship to spirit, may it be one of grace, sincerity, and boundless integrity.
With love and gratitude eternal,
Refuse to fall down
If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down.
If you cannot refuse to stay down,
lift your heart toward heaven,
and like a hungry beggar,
ask that it be filled.
You may be pushed down.
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you from lifting your heart
It is in the middle of misery
that so much becomes clear.
The one who says nothing good
came of this,
is not yet listening.
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés