24 November

Thank You, Happy Thanksgiving. The Liberation Of Emotional Freedom. Finding My Little Place. Thanks For Staying With Me

by Jon Katz

This morning, when I woke up, I understood right away what I wanted to write about on this Thanksgiving holiday. I wanted to thank you.

Here, peace and calm and quiet reign. Maria and I will make some Butternut Squash custard together to go with the lobster tails and crispy kale and squash we are having for dinner.

We are going to the Mansion to hang out with the people there who have no families and often feel left out and left behind. That includes the people in Memory Care. Then we’ll visit with the animals, read (maybe take a picture or two, maybe not), take a walk, and have dinner.

What I most want to write about, though, is you, the people reading this, and those who have come along with me on this trip we call life for years. It feels like family in many ways.

The truth is, you are my family now. I did not expect that when I wrote my books or started my blog.

Thank you for reading my writing, looking at my pictures, urging me to be more civil and forgiving, praising me when I earn it, supporting my life with Maria, and sharing the lives of the animals who have marked the passages of my life and egging on my desire to grow and learn.

I’m grateful for many things today, but I’m incredibly thankful for this new kind of family, as generous, kind, and supportive as my original family couldn’t be. We are part of something new in the world, and selfishly believe this is one of the best parts.

Almost all of the best spiritual teaching is about letting go of what you don’t need and who you are not. These are often addictive, taught, ingrained, and even genetically burrowed into our consciousness. They are hard to get rid of; it takes a long time and a lot of hard and painful work. It has often felt like having a tooth pulled with no novacaine.

Surprisingly, this process – I am not the brightest bulb in the shed, but one of the most willful – makes me smaller and better.

One of these spiritual teachers wrote, “when you get little enough, naked enough, and poor enough, you’ll find the little place where you are is, ironically, more than enough and all that you need. At that place, you will have nothing to prove to anybody and nothing to protect from other people.”

I believe that is true of me. I used to get angry when people said or wrote cruel things to me, and overlook the kind things,  but as I became smaller, I saw I no longer had anything to prove to anyone and nothing to hide from other people.

There was just no reason to be wounded or to wound.

It’s like a snake shedding skin. What was left was, to my surprise, all that I wanted and all that I needed. Nobody can take that away from me.

The spiritual philosophers call this Emotional Freedom.

I can connect to more and more people in many different ways because I am not so attached to my hurts, memories, grievances, failures, and neediness.

There is no longer any point in anger, fear, defensiveness, or hatred.

I am forever alert for the harmful rage that will infect the mind, despoil emotions, and bring back pain and anger.

I am done with that and vigilant about it.

I thank those who have tolerated this evolution in me, forgiven my worst offenses and reactions, and stuck around to see what is happening as I seek to rebuild a broken life.

It is not over yet, not by a long shot, but I think this reduction of me, this shrinking down, was made partly by your support, patience, and faith that I would land in a better place.

From depression and divorce to financial ruin and the end of my book-writing life, I always drew confidence and strength from your kindness and understanding.

We are in it together, aren’t we? The good and the bad.

I didn’t know at the time that I might get through all this, but so many of you did.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart and wish you peace and happiness as you have wished for me.

Have meaningful Thanksgiving.

30 Comments

  1. It’s wonderful to come here and read this. Many of us don’t have families, so this was just the right way to start the day. Thank you so much for creating this blog home for so many. Wishing you and Maria and your peaceable kingdom a very beautiful blessed day.

  2. Jon – when I read what you wrote about your spiritual life this morning, I was reminded of a quote by George Herbert (an English poet, contemporary of Shakespeare) – “Thou that has given so much to me, give me one thing more thing – a grateful heart. You have a grateful heart. May we all remember that on this day. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Maria and all the animals.

  3. you are a radiant being, a true healer for broken hearts and a lover of life ,,, i have read you for a long time and i thank you with all my heart for your generous heart and soul,,, may love and light surround you and maria and all the animals on your amazing farm…

  4. Jon,
    You are an inspiration. 🙏🙏
    When you lived in Montclair and then your first farm in upstate New York, I followed you closely as you learned how to farm and manage the land and the insects!! For me, the dogs were key, but now I love donkeys as well. You have taught me much, and I am grateful.
    I wish you and Maria all the best.

    1. Thanks Robert, it’s been quite a trip but I’m glad to have made it and grateful to you for sticking with me..

  5. Beautiful post, Jon. I *do* feel like we are all family……..and it is comforting and uplifting always. There is much history and evolution of spirit on everyones part, I feel……. and it stirs my soul. Lovely photo of Fate also!
    My warmest and heartfelt love to you all, you are a positive spirit in my life
    Susan M

  6. Happy Thanksgiving, Jon. & Maria. It is a joy reading your blogs, seeing your photos and watching your videos. Your personal growth has been truly inspiring.
    Still missing your podcasts though 🙂

  7. Thank you Jon.I have enjoyed following you from the start. It has been such an inspiration to me. Your daily posts are like a warm pair of slippers I slip on at the end of the day, a comfort everyday. Catching up with you , feeling out your moods and thoughts is a truly wonderful gift you share with us all. Long May it continue. Maria is also and incredible inspiration to me as well. Thanks to you both.

  8. It has been a joy, an education, and a privilege, to observe your growth over the last few years as I’ve been reading your blog. (It has helped me grow, too.) Coming to the point of having nothing to prove, and nothing to hide is so powerful. If only more people could come to understand this for themselves.

    Thanks for writing, and blessings to you and Maria for Thanksgiving.

  9. Thank you, Jon… for your goodness & grace…..for sharing your journey, your life, with honesty that goes to the bone. I love being someone out here along for the ride…I give thanks for you both.

  10. Jon and Maria, I really don’t have the words to say how much your presence in my daily life means to me. I just can’t imagine my days starting without your words and photos. Thank you for the inspiration and life you share. Have a peaceful and loving holiday.

  11. I too have followed your journey for a long time. You are an important part of my journey and an inspiration every day.

  12. Thanks to you too Jon. For sharing your life and many talents with us. I find my best teachers are my friends who don’t always see the world like I do… it makes for a more interesting world. Peace and love to you and Maria.

  13. I’m late to the party, but I do appreciate your posts and musings on finding the peace within ourselves…especially during the holiday season. We don’t hear much from ‘family’ these days, but have two great friends who invite us to dessert so we can be part of a great circle of friends. It means so much.

  14. Your blog brings me to a place of radical gratitude and awareness. Thanks, Jon, for inviting us to walk with you on your journey; finding out, as we walk along with you, that you are illuminating our journeys as well.

    1. Thanks, Kally, I appreciate what you write. Getting all these messages is affirming and humbling. THis is what I hope to do, but am never certain it’s what I’m doing.

  15. Glad you and Maria had a nice Thanksgiving! Your column was a wonderful read today. I’m so glad you are able to visit the Mansion, you bring a lot to the residents there.

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