Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Thank You!

Just a quick post to express heartfelt thanks to all my blog readers. I feel so blessed for the conversations that occur here, for all the support and friendships I’ve made in 11 years of blogging. Thank you for your presence in this world. I’ve not met most of you in person, but I feel you on the journey, lighting up our world one step at a time.

Happy Thanksgiving with Much Love and Many Blessings,

Laura

Happy Thanksgiving!

harvest-table

thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a Happy Gratitude Day! Blessings and abundance to you and yours…

The First Thanksgiving: What really happened

The following account explains why I choose to celebrate what I call “Gratitude Day” rather than the traditional “Thanksgiving” propaganda taught in US schools. Gratitude is incredibly powerful and involves a deep recognition of the gifts and sacredness of all Life, including our bountiful planet. I live every day as Gratitude Day, but I like to express some extra appreciation when the rest of the country’s in full on Thanksgiving mode. Regular blog readers know I’m a fan of the Wildwood Tarot, with its deep forest wisdom. This post reminds me of some of those messages that resonate so strongly with my heart. Thanks to Ann at exopermaculture for posting this version of the story, which more appropriately honors the Native Americans.

The First Thanksgiving: What really happened.

November 14, 2007

P.M. Russell

Historical Perspectives

THE WAY AMERICA envisions that first Thanksgiving, goes something like this: Civilized European pilgrims set out across the Atlantic Ocean, and were rewarded with an entire continent of untold wealth. Oh sure there were a few unclothed savages already there, but they were not a problem that couldn’t be dealt with. Journals and letters written by those first settlers contain accounts of plundering native stores of food, tools and furs. If the Pilgrims found it, they took it.

After working, praying and surviving a bitter winter, the Pilgrim Fathers brought in a bountiful harvest produced by careful tending of seeds that they had brought from home. Inviting their heathen neighbors to join them, the Pilgrims gave thanks for their New World and its riches at a meal consisting of turkey, squash, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Afterwards, the men sat around smoking and telling stories while the women cleaned up.

Now for the Native American side of the story:

What really happened was more like this: After two months and two deaths on the Mayflower crossing in 1620, the Pilgrims landed on the coast of Massachusetts, where an Algonquin-speaking group, the Wampanoags, lived. Clad in leather garments (adding furs during the winter) these native peoples skillfully cultivated corn, beans, squashes and pumpkins; hunted the woods for deer, elk and bear; and fished for salmon and herring. Like other members of what anthropologists now call the Woodland Culture, the Wampanoags looked upon deer, fish and turtle as totemic siblings, and had deep respect for every natural creature. When they hunted, they left offerings for other forest inhabitants, and they would never think of planting or harvesting without giving thanks for the fertility of Mother Earth.

From where the natives sat — especially one named Squanto, who’d learned English after having been sold into slavery a few years earlier, these Pilgrims were in deep buffalo chips. The wheat brought from Europe was completely unsuited to the New England soil and failed to germinate. Half the settlers died during the first winter. Squanto and his friends took pity on this sorry situation and brought venison and furs to these unfortunate white men. He taught them how to plant corn using fish as fertilizer, how to dig clams, how to tap maple trees for syrup.

The Algonquin tribes already had the custom of celebrating six different thanksgiving festivals during the year, and one of those happened to coincide with a dinner party thrown by Miles Standish and company. Standish invited Squanto and a few of his friends and their families to come on down and share a meal. More than 90 Indians showed up. The Pilgrim menu wasn’t going to cover that many guests. So a few of the Algonquin men went out and came back with five deer, enough for three solid days of cross-cultural feasting. Here’s what was actually on that menu: venison, wild duck, wild geese, eels, clams, squash, corn bread, berries and nuts.

That meal was one of the last untroubled moments the whites and natives spent together. Within 50 years, most of the Woodland peoples had been killed, claimed by European diseases or — if lucky — disappeared into the woods. Today, there are still 500 Wampanoags living in New England. They do not celebrate the American Thanksgiving.

Starting Thanksgiving Early

I just took a much needed day off! Yes, I had a weekend getaway last week at Bodega Bay, but that was a working, brainstorming, manic-writing kind of weekend in a relaxing location. Today … now that was a day off.

It actually began last night with some henna action on my hair. Something about that warm, goopy mess of chai tea, paprika and henna just makes my brainwaves slip right into relaxation mode. While the henna did its thing, I watched two Netflix instant downloads: Management and Bickford Schmeckler’s Book of Cool Ideas. Maybe it was the relaxation talking, but I really enjoyed them both. I rinsed out the henna, dried my hair and slept blissfully well.

This morning I awoke, turned a dream into a fictional dream sequence, and watched another movie: Step Up 2: The Streets. OK, closet confession here: I love dance movies, especially street dance and Bollywood. It’s a little embarrassing just how much I love such movies. Also embarrassing: the fact that I then love to “show my moves” to my hubby for several days afterwards.

Yes, I took many, many years of ballet, tap and jazz, and I spent my fair share of time dancing into the wee hours of the morning with my restaurant buddies when I waitressed my way through college. But in elementary school and (ahem) beyond, it was all about the break dancin’. I used to do that stuff until my double-joints cracked backwards. Anyway, this morning provided a wonderful trip down memory lane as poor Stephen witnessed renditions of “the moonwalk,” “the banana” and some bizarre moves I learned by osmosis just today! OK, I have officially outed myself. 🙂

Then, my friend Shana called to see if I might love a jaunt to Cafe Gratitude and a trip to the Sonoma County Coast, in this case, Jenner. Um, was that a rhetorical question? She picked me up and we went to Cafe G where it was 2-for-1 wheat grass shots. Who knew four ounces of wheat grass could be so much fun? Followed by a sushi bowl full of kale and kim chi? Followed by a miraculous pecan pie, aka I Am Perfect?

It was bliss. Followed by more bliss as we drove along the Russian River all the way out to the pristine sea of giant boulders and seaspray. We arrived just in time for sunset.

This was such a pleasant day that it has officially inspired me to begin Thanksgiving two and a half weeks early. Here’s my gratitude list so far:

1 ) I am so thankful that we live in a world where I can pick out a movie while wearing nothing but pajamas and a shower cap over a henna muddy head, download the movie, and when I’m done watching it, download another … and another … all for $9.95 a month. I remember when we had to go to the actual movie theater or Blockbuster. We take such things for granted, but today I’m feeling the love for online movies.

2 ) I am grateful for NaNoWriMo, because this insane quest to write so many words this month made me realize way sooner rather than later that I’ve been trying to squeeze two full books into a single novel. I now have plot, character and themes for books 2 and 3 of the Schizandra Series. If I hadn’t pushed myself to keep writing when I hit the wall, I might not have noticed that little glitch for months. Book 2 seems much more manageable now, and I’m really excited to write book 3!

3 ) I am grateful that I have a husband who loves not only the intuitive, psychic, coaching, writing and energy work I do, but who actually enjoys my spontaneous a.m. dance recitals in his office. And if he’s faking that enjoyment, then I’m even more grateful because he encourages me to be me no matter how old or young or silly or amazingly rhythmic I look doing it. 😉

4 ) I am grateful for my friends, who are always up for an adventure, experimenting with raw food goodies, juice and/or fascinating conversation. I am truly blessed to have so many diverse, compassionate and high vibe people in my life.

5 ) I am grateful that we live in Sonoma County with its unique access to stunning coastlines, open space, misty seascapes, redwoods, and more raw food restaurants than I can count. OK, normally, I can count higher, but once I start eating those desserts, I’m too blissed out to care. We have one: whichever one I happen to be eating in, and I’m so thankful that I momentarily forget just about anything and everything else. Now THAT is gratitude. 🙂

6 ) I am grateful for raw cacao. This may seem redundant to number 5, but au contraire, raw cacao deserves its own spot in my pre-T-Day gratitude list. Because raw cacao fuels happy, open hearts, and novel writing and just about every other fun thing I can imagine. Breakfast not only tastes better with chocolate; it feels better with chocolate; and we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The more cacao the merrier in my book, especially during NaNoWriMo.

7 ) I am grateful that people continue to send me such generous and supportive feedback on my writing. Stephen still calls me “the hardest working lazy person” he’s ever met. Truth is, I may be a Lazy Raw Foodist, but I pour my heart and soul into my books, especially my fiction. Thank you for noticing, and thank you for asking (so often) about Schizandra and the Peruvian Jaguar (book 2). I joke about the pressure of a 9-part series, but I honestly feel honored people want to read that many novels by me. Really, truly: thank you.

8 ) I am grateful that Cafe Gratitude’s having a FREE Thanksgiving meal on T-day and that they need volunteers. Another little outing of myself: I totally love waitressing, always have. Eating a raw vegan Thanksgiving feast and then serving food to others as a pseudo-waitress? I didn’t think I could top last year, but this one might just win.

9 ) I’m grateful that I get to teach a combined Reiki Level 1 and 2 class next Saturday. I love sharing Reiki with people, and this intensive class is particularly fun and rewarding to teach.

10 ) I am grateful to be alive and thriving after a brain injury destroyed the life I knew. November 6, 2009 marked the 11th year anniversary of the neuropsychological tests that showed a 40+ IQ drop and confirmed in an irrefutable way just how disastrously injured my poor brain really was. At the time, recovery looked unlikely.

From where I sit now, every day’s a miracle. I love my life! I have so much more freedom, joy, clarity and love than I ever had pre-injury. I feel smarter, quicker and more intuitive now than I ever did before … and I’m living my dreams. Shortly before my 1998 car accident, I set an intention to write a novel. Not nine novels. Just one. And you know what? When I started writing, I found that I had nothing at all to say. The day of my accident I asked the universe to rectify that situation. I asked for more freedom, joy, clarity and love so that I’d not only have something to write about, but something remarkable to live for. It took awhile for it all to fall into place, but the universe delivered.

Happy Thanksgiving Both Now and Later! Blessed Be.