I reflect on the list of gratitude that sits before me and feel overwhelmed by its enormity.
Loving family, true friends, nature’s beauty and bounty, good health and a strong will to be part of a global solution for peaceful change all have their place within my listings today.
As I pause this holiday season, I make a personal pledge to work harder to co-create the balanced environment that will secure a nonviolent, peaceful history for the next seven generations.
Although there is much work that is required, I have unwavering faith that humanity is capable of this task.
If we each agree to live our lives with a focus on gratitude and respect, we hold the power to affect that change everyone keeps talking about.
Respect for all human life, whether seated in the halls of kings and senators or toiling in the fields and factories of third world desperation, all people share the basic birthright to live in freedom, without fear.
Let us hold close in our hearts those friends and family we know so well while we remember the millions of other family members we have yet to meet; those members of our collective human family who stretch out across this earth.
This Thanksgiving finds us at a crucial crossroads in our global history. Violence has become our immediate reaction to problems and situations of discord. We speak of wanting peace, yet continue to support systems and governments that promote and lead through violent invasion, domination, destruction and intimidation.
Fear has become a partner in our comings and goings, leading the masses into a continuum of division, separation, indifference and apathy. It is a very powerful tool of control and is only effective if we choose to believe in it.
Violence is a compelling spiral that filters compassion, understanding, kindness and love. Instead of finding the common ground necessary to work together effectively, fear spotlights our differences and tells us that ‘different’ is a threat in some way. If we truly want peace, we must face the fear we have allowed to ‘herd’ us like sheep.
This year, let’s remember that the original people of this beautiful land met our fear head-on and have paid dearly for our ‘right to be free’. We cannot undo that which has been done. We can, however, change whether we tell the truth about it or not. We can also prevent it from happening again by standing up to the violence that is perpetrated in our name around the world.
Let’s remember that people everywhere have the right to speak, and be heard. They have the right to shelter, food, clothing, medicines, clean air and water, schooling for their children and to follow the spiritual teachings of their choice.
Let’s remember that ‘we’ are not worth more and ‘they’ are not worth less. Let’s remember that in order to move forward with integrity, truth and love cannot be a casualty.
Let’s remember as we continue to find justifications for the violence perpetrated on others, that to the innocents their demise or disfigurations will not be altered by another’s arrogant need to be right.
Let’s remember that the power to make the changes necessary resides with each of us. It is not some illusory prize that is beyond our reach.
Let’s remember that the ‘leaders‘ are given the power they utilize by us, the people. When that power becomes destructive or self-serving, it is the responsibility of the people to redirect the path that is to be followed.
Let’s give thanks for our ability to speak out for truth, speak up for injustice, stand up to authority that would dictate a violent course of action and stand down to the fear, greed and aggression which continue to represent the greatest cancer to threaten our species.
It is with great thanksgiving that I reflect on my list today and as I do, recommit to creating a culture of peace.