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.