Dear Sanctuary NYC Friends,
This is always an interesting time of year for me. I was raised in the U.S., and like many children made pictures of Puritans and happy Indians and turkeys, and colored them in to hang up in our classroom. I have since learned, of course, that while this particular meal may have been collegial, the next steps in the lives of these two groups was not something to celebrate - especially if you were Native American.
It seems though, that the meal was a Puritan tradition brought to this country, when gratitude was in fact expressed for a plentiful harvest. This first Thanksgiving occurred at a time when collaboration was important for the Puritans to try as a strategy, as they honestly would have gone hungry without the help of the Native people. Learning how to farm this new and strange land was necessary for their continued survival.
I read an interesting article about the Mayflower Pact, the agreement made by the Puritan settlers on the Mayflower before they landed at Plymouth Rock. The idealism and high hopes of their new venture led them to create a document which guaranteed that each original settler, no matter how much work they put into it, would be an equal "owner" of the fruits of the labors of the group. This philosophy quickly fell apart as the rigors of life on the new continent became a reality. Private ownership of the fruits of one’s own labors soon replaced the original heady excitement for a Utopian world.
One of the greatest challenges we have as human beings on a spiritual path is integrating our spiritual truth into our daily lives. It is in the living of our ideals that the real tests appear. The Mayan Elders brought us a clear message. We are no longer going to survive or thrive as a world if we do not move from a "Me" to a "We" consciousness. This IS the message of the next phase of history, marked officially by the ending of the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21st, 2012.
This shift is already in motion, and while it is involved with survival as a planet- literally- I would like to think that the choice to become truly collaborative can be based upon more than pure survival. So, while I am ambivalent about the mixing up of so many metaphors into the official "Thanksgiving story", I am NEVER ambivalent about expressing gratitude. And I am utterly excited beyond words about being a part of the shift to a true "New world".
I want to encourage you all to take a moment during this Thanksgiving holiday to go inside and examine the nature of your relationships. Everything is a relationship, whether it be our interconnectedness with the trees and living things that convert our carbon dioxide into oxygen for mutual continued life, or with your neighbor who makes too much noise on Saturday night. I think that honestly, we learn the most from our most challenging connections, and those would be with other humans.
Even as we give thanks for a plentiful "harvest" in the symbolism of this holiday we call Thanksgiving, let's become intentional about what seeds, bulbs, ideas, visions, images we plant for this next season.
I am grateful for each of you. I am grateful to be alive at this time, with all of the people who have been called forth to be part of this shift to a world of a new way of being.
Looking forward to seeing you Sunday at 2 at West Park.
YOU are the gift.
We love to see your face,