Like last year, I thought I would chime in on this enigma called Thanksgiving. Simply by viewing my site stats across multiple blogs, I get a fair share of international traffic. Decent traffic from Germany (could be my German last name) and interestingly enough, site views from as far east as Singapore. The reason I mention this is because for all intents and purposes, Thanksgiving is a U.S. Holiday. Even our friends in Canada will be business as usual this Thursday.
Not the case here in the USA. Even today while trying to grab lunch, the Super Markets were ablaze with scurries of people exhibiting zombie like persistence – last minute shopping can be a stressful experience. It makes you wonder how many Turkeys lost their lives last week? Well, 90% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving – According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 45 million turkeys are cooked and eaten in the U.S. at Thanksgiving—that’s one sixth of all turkeys! Now that is some turkey trivia for my international guests! It kinda makes you feel bad for the Turkeys – but the alternative for vegans is tofurky which is ghastly in its own right.
I overheard a fellow employee talking about how he has to get up at 3:30 am before the big day to help his wife cram the raw turkey into the oven – apparently it is too heavy for her to lift on her own. Have you ever held a 18lb raw turkey? It feels more like 30lbs and it is awkward and cumbersome too. kind of like a half-frozen slippery bowling ball. The 3:30 am wake up call is what grabbed my attention – 3:30 am? That is brutal…
My mother in California is hosting a family gathering tomorrow. It will be mostly siblings attending and should be intimate but also crazy with kids running amok and in-laws and uncles weighing in on politics and how much money they made this year. This is when the extended family fractures and people are torn between which house to visit and who they may piss off based on their choice of roofs to share Thanksgiving under. That is a lot of pressure too!
It takes at least a day to make all the fixings to accommodate a dinner of this magnitude. It seems, especially here in the Midwest, it is mostly a female managed operation. Guys get a pass on this one: The days are reserved for intermittent naps, cold beer and football. Though, by the end of the day, there is an emotional and physical toll waged on everyone – man, woman and child alike. As the tryptophan, sugar and booze bloats, the only thing Americans are thankful of in the end is their beds. So what does Thanksgiving stand for? I bet if you asked most US teenagers their answer would be something about Indians and Pilgrims. As with most US holidays, marketing, commercialism and watered down traditions bury the origin of most celebrations. I think Black Friday is a holiday in America? It is sometimes easy to forget how lucky many of us are for the gluttony we are all about to share in.
Kidding aside, it is nice to celebrate the art of being thankful. Every day when I meditate, I start the practice with giving thanks. I think it grounds me and reminds me of what is important in life. There is gratitude and reverence within my mind and it allows negative thoughts to evaporate and positive energy to arise. Here are some things I am thankful for everyday:
My wife and family – these are people who love and confide in me – I am blessed
My Job – especially the people I work with who contribute daily
My health – I am thankful, there is a drive within to eat well and exercise – something that was lacking when I was younger.
Creativity – the wisdom and energy within that allowed me to write my latest book, The Responsive Universe.
And finally, clarity and responsiveness – an awareness of love and energy and that we are connected to something so vast it boggles the imagination.
So with that, have a Happy Thanksgiving! – wherever you are…
John C. Bader