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Teka’s Take on… Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving. A time to reflect upon the things you are most thankful for; family, friends and life. It’s a joyous event that we spend one fall day to revel in our abundance of thankfulness. America’s Thanksgiving today is a far cry from its rocky beginnings. Never mind the picturesque school version where our history books showing pilgrims lovingly doting and sharing a bountiful feast with their new friends the “Indians”. We are well aware that’s a far cry from reality we were taught to believe. The feasts did happen, and some multiples times a year; dating back to 1565, when Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilé invited members of the local Timucua tribe to a dinner in St. Augustine, Florida. Then the more renowned version in 1621, when about half of the 102 passengers of the Mayflower colony shared a feast with Native American’s after their first corn harvest. Thanks to those Natives, the bunch was saved from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. What’s not to celebrate? The next 242 years many versions of the holiday occurred and finally in 1863 Abraham Lincoln proclaimed an official holiday as a “way to heal” during the Civil War and made it the last Thursday in November. It was celebrated on that day for 76 years until Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression (sound familiar?), that met huge opposition from the people and he reverted back to the 4th Thursday in November. Surprisingly exactly 76 years ago on this 2017 Thanksgiving. We have family older than that. Here we are now, back in a space where the presentation of dinner, the anticipation of Black Friday and pre-sales have now become more important to many than what we have always said the day was for…thankfulness. Then you have the woke-folk, who simply cannot be a part of such a treacherous tradition celebrating the lies told by the man and make you feel like scum for even suggesting that they be happy and thankful. On track here….so I’m gonna roll with it.

I choose to utilize this time to actually BE THANKFUL. October proved to be a hell of a month, only preceded by what has been a heck of a year. Yet, I AM THANKFUL (insert praise dance, kidding, I don’t do those). But I do PRAISE an almighty God who has helped steer me through the darkest of days. I have been strengthened and a surprise testimony to myself through strife. I am still here (thankfully). What’s not to be thankful for?

I know the world can be a harsh reality to everything we do and see nowadays. Social media is a scathing reality of the cynicism that the world has embraced as gospel and trying to pull yourself above the fray seems almost impossible. So much so that a lot of our friends and family find themselves taking “breaks” or “not-doing” social media to escape it. I have found a way to find solace from the system. It’s in the simplest of things- some may not even believe you cannot find peace here but its right before your very eyes. The elements. Yes, the elements (why not?). We come from the earth and those four little words can affect the slightest change in your mood and have a greater appreciation on how minuscule our problems really are. Not to sound all Pocahontas or anything, but have you ever stopped to listen to the wind rustling in the trees? Ventured out for fresh air, tilted your face up to the sun and felt immediate relaxation? Stepped into a hot shower and let the day run off of you, or sat by a fire and stared aimlessly into space? These simple steps can do the most for your energy. Your spirit is deeply connected to this earth and it is the best medicine. A glass of wine while partaking in its beauty doesn’t hurt either. Not the outdoorsy type? That’s ok; you can always sit inside and meditate. Quiet reflection does wonders for the soul. Choosing to be thankful even when you have valid reason to not be in the moment is key. That’s where your perspective is shifted and you view things from a different light. Thankfulness for what you have, how you’ve grown, what you’ve accomplished to overcome other obstacles in another era of your life. If you choose to saturate yourself in the good, it will help dissipate the level of the bad. If something is really bad, use your network of friends, family, and sounding boards to help you work through it. Every day won’t be sunshine and butterflies, but every day doesn’t have to be a storm either. A rainbow symbolizes God’s promise to us and every living creature on earth. Make your own rainbows to get you through your storms. Promises to yourself to endure through pain and strife, a promise to grow and learn from your experience and hold strong during times of duress, can make all the difference. When you find yourself eye rolling at someone’s jovial disposition for the holidays, take a moment to reflect on what storms they may have endured or are enduring. Giving back in any form is also a great way to reflect on how thankful you should be; whether it is your time, your clothes or monetary donations to a local organization.

So in spite of its origins, let’s make our own history by giving proper respect and recognition to our past, but moving into our own sets of traditions. CHOOSE to be thankful on Thanksgiving and everyday you have here on this earth. Be kind to others and build instead of tearing down. Take time for yourself and to appreciate the little things. When you take the time to look for beauty in the world, it’s easy to see. Let your framily be their crazy selves without judgment and love the woke people, cause they keep us on our toes, educate us and sometimes need a hug too. Bring forth the traditions and activities that make you and your family unique to your own story. Know the past, don’t live in it or be defined by it for the sake of “tradition”. Blaze your own paths to greatness and show the children the way. Storms pass, remember that- and without them, we wouldn’t appreciate the sunshine. So give thanks, love others and most importantly, love YOURSELF; you’re no good to anyone else if you don’t.

LOVE love, and Happy Thanksgiving!!!