Thursday, November 22, 2012
Today we celebrate Thanksgiving in America. Words alone could never convey the gratitude I have for my life and all of the people in it, both friends and family. As I begin to prepare my VEGAN meal for my family I am left thinking about this countries history and that of my native country Canada (who celebrates their Thanksgiving in October). I guess we all get so bogged down with "tradition" and social norms we never sit and realize how this celebration came to be or even stop to give gratitude to those who were forced to sacrificed their lives and land so we could sit up to our tables today with our loved ones. I think about the millions of slaughtered Turkeys and all of the Natives who lost their land and lives so "we" could call this country OURS. I had to share this statement by Russell Simmons as it really spoke to me today.
"I hope everyone has a wonderful time today with their family and friends, while reflecting on all the things they have to be thankful for.
In my house, however, we’ll be doing things a little bit differently than most Americans. Instead of eating Turkey flesh, we’ll be chowing down on some delicious Tofu Turkey. And instead of celebrating the story of the Pilgrims, we’ll be reflecting on how the kindness of the Wampanoag tribe who helped them got paid back with enslavement, violence and death.
I don’t say that to judge what anyone else is doing today, but rather to explain why sometimes I have a hard time “celebrating” a day that’s built around the enslavement and impoverishment of indigenous Americans and the annual slaughter of millions of innocent animals.
So today, try to take a moment from your celebration and at the very least be mindful of the suffering the Wampanoag and so many other Native Americans went through. And then take another moment to reflect on the suffering that turkey on your plate must have gone through too.
No matter what you end up eating and how you end up celebrating today, please have a safe, relaxing and loving time with you family and friends. But please also take that moment to reflect on the real stories behind this “Holiday.” You owe it to the Native Americans, the turkeys and yourself." - Russell Simmons
Enjoy each moment today regardless of your beliefs or traditions. Express your gratitude each and every day to those who you love and to strangers as well. Never forget to say "Thank You" every time someone does something for you, no matter how big or small. I am appalled to see how many people do not thank others or are devoid of simple manners. DO for others and be the example of compassion for all living things. Count your blessings and share them with others. The capacity to do so is what you REALLY should be giving thanks for.
Let today inspire the gratitude you should have all year long!
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy