An Intertwining of Thanksgiving and Mourning

Thanksgiving Thoughts #2-

A dear Wisdom Grad student, Diane, is crossing over the great mountain as I write. In my tribal teachings a person is given a song that carries them through the journey. Death is just a phrase for a phase, and the sound of music, the music of the spheres, can carry her along and across a distant mountain range, the great divide. Diane sang many songs, and we sing some today we shared with her in various intensives to propel her on the way.

As the morning sun breaks over limestone hills where we live, Judith and I also blow a conch shell in celebration of Diane’s life and in thanksgiving for all she meant to our community. And in thanksgiving for you, seekers of wisdom, all.

At times like these I am aware of a strange intertwining of love, mourning, and gratitude. In 1970 an organization of American Indians(preferred name by my tribal background and training) designated the holiday the mainstream calls “Thanksgiving” as a Day of Mourning. The mourning is for the unbelievable damage done to native peoples by invading European-Americans. My friend and colleague, Jim Garrison, responded to my thoughts along this line and added a need for mourning for the damage we are doing to Earth as we invade the future with the greedy hands of our current culture. All of us. None are exempt.

So, on Thursday, I will continue to give thanks for the harvest of 2013, for Diane’s life, and for yours. Then, on Saturday I invite you to join me in a day of fasting until sundown, a fast that mourns the death of our loved ones, our past damages to indigenous peoples around the globe, and our crimes against the future.

In this way of experiencing the intertwining of gratitude, mourning, and love, perhaps we can birth anew a generosity that reaches out with gentle hands to seven generations in the future.

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