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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Saying "Thanks"

Yeah, this has happened to me.
I know I'm a couple of days early, but good timing has never really been my forte. Why start now? And what difference does it make? There's no bad time to say "thank you", and certainly this is an appropriate season. I am in two minds about the more 'traditional' meaning of Thanksgiving; The Irish and English parts aren't really in agreement with my Sioux parts. But that's okay. It's okay to be grateful, period. I'll go with that:-)

First of all, thank you for reading my blog. Often I write just because I enjoy it, but knowing that you're reading it makes it that much more rewarding. And thank you to all of those bloggers who inspire me and sometimes even keep me going. I appreciate you all more than you will ever know.

But there's more to gratitude than saying "thank you". When I look back on my life and the difficulties in it, I can't help but notice all of the wonderful people who have been there to hold my hand, in one way or another, every step of the way. Some of you did so while making my life hell, but even you are appreciated. Some of you have been absolute saints. All of you inspire me to want to pay it forward. I won't let the 'chain of warm and gooey goodness' end with you. My gift to you will be my effort to take the kindness you've shown me and amplify it; your gift reverberating outward in endless ripples. That is my intent, because of you.

I am grateful for my Facebook friends who post sweet, beautiful and original things, who keep the mood light, who never post things that are mean and spiteful. You are the reason I'm still on that $%^& social networking site. The joy you put forth is a light that drowns out all the sanctimonious darkness. If anything will move humanity forward it's that attitude, that refusal to engage in the bickering and blame. You folks are gold.

I am thankful to have goals, even though my lack of forward movement sometimes torments me. I AM moving forward, but not fast enough for me. To quote my much-younger self  "I TRIED being patient but it took too looooong!" (you have to imagine it spoken in the plaintive whine of a frustrated child. Yeah, I STILL sound like that.) Listen to me, in a blog about thankfulness and gratitude, STILL whining:-D

I have endless gratitude for my family (Murphy included!) and friends. I think sometimes that I'm not super-easy to get to know and perhaps even more difficult to understand. To say I am anti-social is the understatement of the century. Yet there you guys are, smiling and kind through all manner of shenanigans. I'm terrible about emotional stuff and talking about squishy things like 'feelings' (well, unless you're a dog or a horse), but I DO love you guys. I see each of you for the amazing, unique, talented and compassionate people that you are. I don't know what I've ever done to deserve such great friends, but I'm endlessly grateful to have you in my life. And to my family, I know you're pretty much stuck with me but you all rarely complain and that's good on you;-) If I could hand-pick my family, you would still be stuck with me:-D

Okay, all this 'positive' is starting to make me feel a bit uncomfortable. It's back to that whole bit about 'feelings' and my often uneasy relationship with them. One more thing though: I am grateful for my awesome daughter. She is a fabulous mix of beauty, intelligence, dorkiness and talent with just enough 'klutz' thrown in to keep life interesting and funny. Fortunately, she has been gifted with a great sense of humor (and she doesn't bruise easily, a bonus!). Raising her alone was one of the most difficult things I ever did, but having her was the one thing I never second guessed myself on. And she's an awesome person! (phew!)

I feel very blessed this holiday season, and I hope you do too. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tradition

The word "tradition" has been thrown around quite a bit lately, and it's a word I both adore and despise. I think tradition can be wonderful and warm; it can provide security within its familiar parameters. I love family traditions, especially those that center around holidays, and I'm completely and endlessly fascinated by the rich and myriad traditions around carriage driving and fox hunting. But tradition can be stifling. Some horrible things have been perpetrated under the guise of tradition. Like anything else, there is usually something very negative to be found in fervency.

Where people are concerned, traditions need to remain flexible. Humanity is fluid; our ideas and ideals grow and change as our understanding of the world and our place in it evolve. Pathological adherence to tradition can interfere with natural progression if it's allowed to. Inflexibility is often cast aside, shed like tight and dessicated old skin, left by the wayside to go extinct like the dinosaurs: Evolve, be flexible or become obsolete. It's not a new concept. It's an idea that exists in history, religion, nature. Yet it's so hard for human beings to grasp. We fumble about the dark, mistaking our intelligence for superiority and worse; we define our personal value by our ability (or the ability of others) to acquire stuff. And then we fight about it. We destroy and kill each other over it. We make stuff and currency more valuable than people. I don't want to fight, but I don't want to understand, either. I wonder what operates under and within a society that puts money before people, self before others. I wonder but I don't really want to know. No religion in politics, I agree with that. But...

I believe in the spirit of humanity. I believe the spirit within me gives me structure, morality, an innate sense of right and wrong. To be a person of morality means it carries forward into all things. To be a bastard in business, the bastard must exist. There is no excuse for treating people badly. None. I don't believe selfishness is worthy of emulation. It's not an example to follow, or something to be proud of. I don't believe we secure our rights by denying the rights of others. I don't believe in denying the rights of others in order to adhere to outdated and outmoded traditions. I don't believe in peace through intimidation. Maybe I'm the dinosaur. But I'm not alone.

Call me what you like. Call me irresponsible, lazy, pointless; tell me I don't matter and that it's okay if I starve and my children starve and my parents starve. Perpetuate the myth, it doesn't matter, because it IS a myth. I'm not alone. I'm not the only one who's been cast aside, lied about, vilified, scape-goated, disenfranchised, dismissed, alienated, insulted...underestimated. And we know the lie for what it is.

Good people live in this world. There is hope for humanity if we reach out in united and honorable purpose, with both ourselves and each other in mind. Or we could keep doing what we're doing; wasting our time, energy and resources to useless purpose, snapping at each other over ideology and ultimately, irrelevance. But I have to wonder; how long will we glorify acquisition above all? Selfishness as a worthy trait? How long will we pride ourselves on our propensity for violence? It doesn't matter. It's not for me.

I pray for this world and this humanity that I love.