Thanksgiving Prayer 2018

Jen Willsea
Nov 23, 2018 · 3 min read

This is the first year I haven’t joined family or friends for a giant meal of turkey and more. It gave me an opportunity to be quiet, to move slowly, and to prepare a simple meal for my little family. A few friends stopped by for a bit, and that was lovely. I wanted to host a gathering that included food, friends, time, and a ritual to honor the stolen land we are on. It didn’t work out that way. This year this day has me wondering…

What is Enough? How might I honor the abundance present in my life and in our imperfect struggling world, and root in an even deeper knowing that I am enough, that there is enough, that we are enough? Nourishing a culture of abundance* rather than of scarcity is what I wish for, is one thing I know challenges oppression and cultivates liberation. A culture of abundance is not a culture of gluttony or of greed. And yet, there’s nothing wrong with eating lots of turkey and pie and mashed potatoes if that brings joy. That usually brings me joy. I just like noticing abundance in the less obvious places.

In yoga class this morning, Shonali asked us to notice and appreciate what is tender within each of us, and to move into our warrior pose from there. My power is more powerful if it comes from my place of tenderness. She also reminded us that when we open to let our energy of groundedness (when we have it) spread to others around us, we are also open to receive that energy from others when we need it. We are interconnected and I am learning more about what that really means. We are porous, we are strong together. We have the abundant ingredients we need to build a beautiful future together.

What does it look like to honor the land I live on? The first step is learning about whose land it is and how it was stolen. I live on Muscogee/Creek land. Most of the Muscogee/Creek people who were living here in the 1700s and early 1800s were forced out to make room for the expansion of enslavement westward from the Georgia coast. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the Trail of Tears a few years later were government programs of forced indigenous removal for this purpose. I have a lot more to learn, but this is a start. As a descendent of colonists of Haudenosaunee and Wampanoag land, I want to live in a way that is honest about violence and loss, and that accounts for this history and present-day injustices of land use, property “values” and houselessness alongside extreme wealth hoarding.

I do know that honoring the land and its history has something to do with practicing Enough, Abundance, Interconnectedness with all beings from the microscopic creatures in the dirt in my backyard to my human neighbors. And I know that honoring the land and its history has something to do with uprooting Greed, Extraction, Ego, and Self-Centeredness.

And here’s a short video, The Invention of Thanksgiving, which I saw earlier this year when I visited the National Museum of the American Indian:

*I do not mean material abundance here. Racial capitalism and the culture of white supremacy are built on and depend on the violent extraction of resources from people and from the earth, as well as exploitative material consumerism. So what does nurturing a culture of abundance mean that is not complicit with material consumerism and white supremacy? I don’t have the answer, but this quote speaks to me:

“Modern materialism doesn’t honor the material world — it demeans it. We’re buying things we’ll throw in the garbage in two years. My mother’s washing machine worked for forty-five years. Mine was broken beyond repair after eight. The more avidly we consume, the more we turn material objects into worthless waste. Consumerism comes out of a craving, at the root of which is our dissociation from being. There’s a restless emptiness at our core, an emptiness that has obliterated our sense of “enough.”” -Philip Shepherd in “Out of Our Heads: On the Brain in Our Body”

Jen Willsea

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new mama. illuminator. facilitator. liberation seeker. atlanta-based. more here: http://interactioninstitute.org/author/jen/