Republished email, sent Nov. 21, 2017. Get added to our mailing list!
Thanksgiving is our shared national holy day. It is fitting that it is rooted in gratitude —a practice that grounds all of our faith traditions. Refocusing ourselves there can help us drink in all that is good about this time of gathering, even as we hold and seek healing for the close-in aches of illness, loneliness, or challenging relationships and wider-circle aches of wounded communities and ecosystems that can can be especially visible in contrast. Thanksgiving is a day when these things are juxtaposed: the bounty of the harvest, the voice of an old friend or beloved, the holes where things are not whole, and the spaces where the commercial world is banging at the door to chase us from gratitude and to acquisition.*
We invite you to join PA IPL around the table this week, too. Enjoy your food. Eat all the leftovers. Then also hold a few moments or hours to get out into the slanting light of November. Go slowly. Breathe deeply — we’re breathing with you. Feel the solid ground holding you up. Savor one small specific moment and share it with us, via email or on our Facebook page. Perhaps you will make something beautiful. Perhaps you will clear a little space for a native plant to breathe. Perhaps you will heal a small corner of a place. Or bless the grass. Or laugh at an active squirrel. When you come back indoors, share the moment, however you wish to do so — a photo, a sketch, songs or poems that you sing, or read, or write, or maybe even a 6-word story.
(The photo we’ve shared here is a grand sweep rather than a small moment. It was taken just a few weeks ago by the Rev. John Creasy, a member of our Board, on the farm he manages on a hillside directly below a water tower right in Pittsburgh — a gift as he was working on the harvest.)
For those of you looking for prayers of harvest or thanksgiving, in a past year we gathered a good group still collected here. Extend the season of gratitude by printing or forwarding them, and reach for a new one each day before a meal, or as you return home. Looking for tools for conversations instead? We collected a few of those in a previous year, too, and just today ran into this piece about a longtime skeptic changing his mind.
*Those who were able to attend our 2017 Annual Conference got a beautiful glimpse of shared practices in the work of Joanna Macy, who always begins with gratitude. A conference statement from the program book introduces one part of her work. More is available at The Work that Reconnects and we’d be happy to connect you with one of the many talented folks in our networks who has studied with Joanna Macy to help design a workshop in your neck of the woods. Just ask!