Thanksgiving: Holding space for both Gratitude and Grief

Thanksgiving: Holding space for both Gratitude and Grief

I’ve recently been thinking about and meditating on the different binaries that I find myself living. Good and bad. Lazy and active. Productive and unproductive… there are plenty of others. In my sitting, I’ve been challenging myself to qualify things less and to accept them as they are.

Maybe that thing or feeling isn’t good or bad, maybe it just is?

Perhaps I’m not being lazy, maybe I chose to rest because I needed it?

Maybe today’s productivity isn’t a bonus–maybe I just found more tasks to complete?

Maybe there is space for more there than we currently acknowledge.

I can’t count the amount of “throw 2020 away” memes I’ve seen floating around the internet, or conversations that I’ve had with others about how difficult this year has been. I’ve shared them. I’ve said it myself. Emotional fatigue, collective trauma, and 2020 grief are real. Very real. And when I sit and think, there are also wonderful highlights from 2020. We’ve reimagined human interaction. You can be anywhere in the world and interact with anyone over zoom and other platforms. We’re collectively investing in our wellbeing and defining ourselves outside of the often superficial titles we used to cherish. While those may not be your individual highlights, I’m confident that when you sit and attempt to find reasons to be grateful in this Thanksgiving and holiday season, you will find many.

Will these highlights replace the loss or the grief? No. They won’t. Nothing will. But these highlights, these interactions, these moments of gratitude can and will remind you of the fullness of life. These moments remind us that we all will have experiences that allow us to feel. These moments remind us that our lows allow us to appreciate our highs, that light cannot exist without darkness, and even in these binaries, there is room to experience more of the fullness of life.

So if you find yourself this holiday season feeling heavy as a result of racial, cultural, and political trauma; if you have lost a loved one, your business, or your home this year due to COVID-19; or if you’re sacrificing seeing your family as you answer the pleas of medical experts to help flatten the curve– I see you. I’ve included this meditation for you. Take 12 minutes to allow yourself to feel those feelings, AND to create space for gratitude. I’m also including the link to Alanna’s gratitude meditation from her Modern Mystics podcast–there’s always more gratitude to go around.

One month ago, I lost three cousins in a shooting in my hometown of Dallas, Texas. Every day, I challenge myself to match my grief with gratitude. It won’t change the fact that they are not here, but it helps make the weight a little easier to carry.

Happy Thanksgiving! May we all be happy, safe, healthy, and grateful.