Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks, Appreciating the Small and Protecting Yourself From Ninjas

(an oldie)
I read something over the weekend about a guy who had Thanksgiving by himself. He was saying that even though he tried to prepare himself for it being just another Thursday, even though he wasn't a big fan of the holiday to begin with, he still had a hard time not feeling depleted by it. He went to a movie and all he could think about was how sad it was that he was the lone guy in the theater. "The distance between gratitude and self-pity", he wrote, "is miniscule". That stuck with me, and I think it's true, but it also led me to the idea how self-pity can make an appearance when you're in a group of people too, especially a group you are related to. You don't need a day locked up in solitairy to figure that one out. Holidays are weird, you have more than the usual conflicts going on: joy and love are next to rage and guilt. Annoyance? Pull up a chair! Empathy and grace? Right here between shame and regret. And pass the stuffing!

The negatives are there, as usual right on time, but they don't need to be indulged; I mean, they can't really be ignored, but pay close attention instead to the moments. Think about seeing your mother dance to Benny Goodman with your grandmother; or secretly giving the cat a piece of turkey and watching her trot off with it like she just won a prize; or reading a text from a friend who writes about hiking in the mountains: "Walks in the snow where the flakes come down so huge and lightly whole lifetimes pass until they fall". Think about that.

And here's a video you need to see in case you find yourself being attacked in a back alley today.
Happy Thanksgiving.

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