Thanksgiving

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We recently celebrated Thanksgiving in the US a time of family, turkey and (American) football.  This holiday is supposedly about Pilgrims coming to America to find religious freedom and native Americans who welcomed them with open arms. 

In a New York Times article, “Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong”,  we find that little of this story is true.  The Pilgrims, who didn’t call themselves by this name, came to the US to make money and establish a religious theocracy.  The article goes on to state that there wasn’t evidence that turkey was served or that native Americans were invited to take part, regardless, there was a celebration. 

In the US, Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season.  Thanksgiving Thursday is followed by Black Friday, which is the official start of the holiday shopping season.  After eating large amounts of food for Thanksgiving, some Americans then go out and wake up very early to shop for gifts.  

At this time of the year, people in the “holiday spirit” do seem to care more about others, volunteering to serve Thanksgiving meals or buying food for those without.   (At local supermarkets, one can purchase a pre-packaged bag of food which is then donated to a food pantry or homeless shelter).

This is my third holiday season since leaving Nepal in August 2016.  For me, it’s a somewhat strange time of the year as people overeat and spend money on items which seem unnecessary.  Living in India and Nepal further encouraged me on my path towards more simple living. I’ve also observed how wealthy many seem to be, spending huge amounts of money on items that provide people with seemingly temporary pleasure.  (How large does a house need to be?  Will this really create long-term happiness?)

As I continue on my journey, I’m trying to live more with less.  Many people in Nepal might respond to this by thinking, ‘he grew up in America and always had a lot of things, which I (now think), want.” 

During my commutes to work and to meditate I listen to CD’s about how to live a life of fulfillment.  The messages are about thinking of/serving others first, having low ego, being in the background making things happen, letting others take credit.

I’m at a point in my life in which I want to stay in the background.  I’ve been working towards this for a long time and finally am getting there.  I come at this as someone who has had the privilege of growing up in the US.  I don’t take this for granted. Although I’ve never been affluent, I’ve seen and even participated on rare occasions as to how the wealthy live.  I understand that life isn’t fair but we can still be thankful for what we do have.

I am very thankful that my parents are still living full lives at 89 and 85.  I’m thankful that I’ve been able to share in having raised two children and that they have reached adulthood.  I’m thankful that I can talk to my sister and that I have good friends.  I’m thankful I can still play basketball and that I have a job in which I can coach the game.  I’m thankful that I have places that I can go to in which I feel totally safe. I’m thankful that I can voice my opinion without being arrested.  I’m thankful I live in a nice home and always have food. 

Life is not about our large homes or driving a certain make of car.  It’s not about the university that one attended, the work that we do, how large our salaries are, the clothes that we wear.  Life is about how we think about/treat others, how we make lives better.  Imagine a world in which we all have other’s best interests as a priority, not an after though and give thanks every day for what we do have.

 

 

 

 

Position: Programme Manager

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