I’m surrounding myself with family today, with too much delicious home cooked food, with old and new traditions. We can’t seem to gather each year without Nana Bea’s rolls, Mom’s jello mold, Karen’s challah stuffing, and this year’s new trick, Mushroom Wellington à la Alan.
“Reviving family recipes honors your ancestry, but more than that, it makes manifest the inconceivable truth. This one meal is the fulfillment of infinite lifetimes.” says Karen Maezen Miller. My forebears would be proud and happy, as am I, mostly. Is there always a caveat?
I wish Thanksgiving could be with our whole extended clan, as we’ve had for so many years, but our Portland version is sweet. How hard we worked to get here to this day of celebration, our 9th Oregon Thanksgiving! Rupert Spira says, “Happiness is to align what we want with what is, unhappiness is the attempt to align what is with what we want.” We’ve managed to find a sweet spot.
Sometimes the hard stuff is just too in my face, and I have to fall back on the little things, the tried and trite but true phrases. It’s hard to be hateful when you’re grateful. Be here now. I look to the Pacific Northwest beauty around me, how the cold sun came out of the fog today and lit up the brightly colored fallen leaves. I look to my family, and friendships. I’m grateful for our health, that we’re all vaccinated. I’m even grateful that others have the right to do what they think best for them! I just hope they’re careful. I’m amazed and grateful for our willingness to get up again and again and keep going in the face of… well, all the other stuff. I’m grateful that those closest to me are safe and warm, and hope we find a path toward making that true for everyone else.
Charles Kingsley said, “We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” So I take note from Ezra who comes at me full speed for a hug that could easily take me down. I bathe in his glee in beating me over and over at Crazy 8s, and in Rosa’s joy at skunking me at Cribbage. I embrace her ability to enter every project or idea with unfettered enthusiasm. Their continuous rediscovery of optimism and delight is a guiding star.
My own enthusiasm ebbs and flows and though I seem to have little control over it, I’m thrilled when it shows up unannounced and frosts the edges of my life with sweetness. My friend Bonnie Rae says, “When everything is not fine, be the light.” I can do that.
color therapytom clausen
asked to arrange
the flowers in a vase
I put them in any which way-
so glad there are some things
which can’t go wrong
Sometimes it’s other people’s words get me through and around. My writing groups have been inspirational that way; people writing and reading aloud what’s most on their minds, trying to find words for the knots that we bind ourselves in, and in the sharing, find a loosening.
So thank you friends for your readership, for your enthusiasm, for the happinesses you share, and for the light. Forever grateful.