Thanksgiving is Thursday, and it’s easy to come up with a list of things to be grateful for. More than a list, I can muster that warm, unctuous, in-love feeling when I think about my amazing friends, my goofy and wonderful family, and the strange, twisty path I’m on.
In recent years, my family has adopted a tradition I love. After dinner, we each say one thing you’re thankful for about every person around the table. I’m usually weeping uncontrollably into my Beaujolais about 5 minutes in.
This time of year is bittersweet, though. There is so much violence bombarding us on the daily. Violence overseas, violence here. So much pain and unrest that I can’t read yet another news story about the death and injustice because my heart simply cannot take much more sorrow.
We feel it as a collective. We suffer because we are the same.
Even if we can’t bring ourselves to keep up with the every trial, every bombing, every hostage situation and war. This violence is in such opposition to our true nature that it disturbs the fabric that connects us all. We are shaken and traumatized on an energetic level.
Self-care to ground and nourish is critical during times like this, and gratitude is a part of that self-care.
But it is not a bypass. We cannot pacify our rage and sorrow at current events by placing the Gratitude Band-Aid over our deep wounding.
To truly heal ourselves and our world, we must act. It is a balance: the spiritual practice is what keeps us centered and in authenticity, and the activism puts our inner work into the outer world. You cannot have one without the other.
“The greatest weapon on Earth is the Human soul on fire.”
— Ferdinand Foch
This is why I love yoga so much: You can only practice for so long until you cannot sit still and watch the world as it is. You become so open that you cannot take the pain of others, for it is now yours. Yoga means union, and when you begin to feel the tiniest sprinkle of unity, you inevitably become called to change.
Sitting still is the worst thing we can do. We are on the Earth at this very moment to walk our talk because we come to our mats and zafus and altars. We have spent time seeking the Divine, and She is giving us tools to heal our culture and society.
So what can we do?
You already feel it: that ache for something more. To take what you’ve cultivated and get it out and express it in some
…I compare it to throwing up. In a good, thoughtful way.
So what can we do?
They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.
Let your heartbreak lead. Pay attention to what hurts the most, what keeps you awake at night, and start there. It could be racism in America, the Syrian civil war, the destruction of the environment. Find what brings you to your knees, and use that to stand in opposition to the norm.
No need to reinvent the wheel here: find organizations that align with your cause and connect with them in your area. Or begin a chapter in your area. Donate money. Blog about it. Talk about it. Repost about it.
And know that you’re at the beginning of a huge journey.
What ignites you? What provokes you til you can no longer sit still? What action will you take?