Tomorrow being Thanksgiving in the United States offers an opportunity to reflect on gratitude. With so much anger bubbling up on all fronts is it possible that gratitude could be the salve to heal our wounds?
It is hard to feel grateful while the ongoing destruction of our Earth’s systems creates more and more climate catastrophes. Yet these catastrophes remind us not to take Earth’s bounty for granted. After my sister lost power and water for almost a week from Hurricane Irma, I remembered what I usually forget and said a small prayer of thanks every time I turned on the water. The miracle of running water is something we all take for granted. I am grateful for the modern convenience of running water and the ease it provides to our lives. I am even more grateful for the waters of Earth, which arrive in many ways and provide life and well-being to all.
The presidency of Donald Trump has brought out the worst in us as a nation. Bigotry, misogyny and an adulation of the 1% have a voice like never before. Where can one find reasons for gratitude in that?
I am grateful that the grassroots is energized and voter turn out in the recent special elections has been very high. I am grateful that the extremes to which his hate rhetoric has pushed us is now birthing a revolution of women speaking out against sexual abuse and harassment. I am grateful for the mayors, governors, and political activists of the nation who are confirming their commitment to the Paris Accord and the reduction of greenhouse gases. Numerous groups – Indigenous Environmental Network, Sunrise, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, 350.org, Sustain, U.S. Youth for Justice and Sustainability, Climate Generation, U.S. Human Rights Network, ICLEA-Local Governments for Sustainability, Nextgen America, and Climate Justice Alliance – all joined hands to become the U.S. People’s Delegation at the recent COP23 in Bonn, Germany. You can view a video of these amazing folks on 350’s facebook page.
And of course I am grateful for my family and friends. My sisters, my son, my daughter-in-law have always been loving and supportive. Our relationships continue to grow and thrive. I am grateful for my friends, local and elsewhere, of many years Many of my friends are scattered across the world yet the miracle of the internet makes keeping in touch easy.
Yet can feeling gratitude really help heal our world? I believe it can. When we experience a feeling of gratitude we become conscious of our relationship to someone or something. Gratitude for the water, for the bounty from Earth makes me conscious of my relationship to Earth, to our interconnectedness. This feeling of connection leads to a profound sense of the need to protect and nourish Earth.
Feeling thankful connects us to our heart, breaking down the walls of separation that keep us disconnected and isolated. Gratitude for the hope and activism which emerges in a toxic political climate helps reconnect us with those from whom we feel so estranged. It opens up dialogue and the ability to listen with empathy.
It is an ancient concept that the old must die to make way for the new. We experience that with every turn of the season and every life transformation. Our ancestors have left stories which express that truth – from the Celtic Goddess, The Cailleach, to the Greek Goddess, Persephone, to the Sumerian Inanna, all goddesses of transformation personifying death and the transformative power of darkness.
The healing power of gratitude allows us to see an opportunity for growth in the midst of difficult times. It is possible that the difficulties our world faces now are truly a result of the dying of the 5000 year old patriarchal system. That painful death allows for a new beginning, a new consciousness which understands and tolerates differences and limits while striving for a world built around the values of love, peace, equality, and balance – the Way of the Goddess.
Judith Shaw, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, has been interested in myth, culture and mystical studies all her life. Not long after graduating from SFAI, while living in Greece, Judith began exploring the Goddess in her artwork. She continues to be inspired by the Goddess in all of Her manifestations. Originally from New Orleans, Judith now makes her home in New Mexico where she paints and writes as much as time allows and sells real estate part-time.
Judith’s deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle Cards is available now. You can order your deck on Judith’s website. Experience the wisdom of the Celtic Goddesses!