Thanksgiving Day, 2010

25 Nov

My Spiritual Mentor and Elder, Grandmother Parisha, known to some as Parisha Taylor, has through the past 25 years shared with me and others “that which was given to be given” – wisdoms from her traditional Elders. I am so blessed to have been able to travel with and learn from this woman, who even though she has traveled the world and addressed major world governing bodies and heads of state; seeded businesses; provided for other’s educations; assisted countless individuals in their personal, professional, emotional, and spiritual growth, modestly describes herself  as “a Wife, Mother, Grandmother and an incurable people watcher. I am Creators Child, Loving, Serving, Living and Learning in this world.”

I am truly blessed to have been privileged to travel with her, learn from her, share laughter and tears, hard work, business ventures and tremendous accomplishments as part of the Learning Center for Human Development.

I supposed there’s already enough commentary on the “net” about having one day set aside for Thanksgiving – so I won’t belabor that point. I will simply share that over the years I have learned from this one known as Grandmother Parisha about living every moment in “Appreciation.”

The Cherokee language, Grandmother Parisha shares, has no word for “Thank you.” Instead the word is “Appreciation.”  The online Webster’s definition of “appreciation” the noun is:

“1 a: judgment, evaluation; especially: a favorable critical estimate

b: sensitive awareness; especially: recognition of aesthetic values

c: an expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude.

2: increase in value.” *

The definition (ibid) of “appreciation” the verb is:

“1a: to grasp the nature, worth, quality, or significance of

b: to value or admire highly

c: to judge with heightened perception or understanding : be fully aware of

d: to recognize with gratitude

2: to increase the value of” *

We can see here that in the case of both the noun and the verb, “appreciation” is an expression of increasing the value of that which is being spoken.

Thanksgiving = Gratitude = Appreciation

In 12-Step Recovery we learn about the power of an “Attitude of Gratitude.” Newcomers are encouraged to start the day with a written gratitude list. Believe me it definitely helps to put things in perspective – especially when your body and mind are going crazy from the physical, mental and emotional changes experienced in detoxifying.

But it doesn’t stop there, and this isn’t just a practice for “addicts” – unless we recognize that in one way, shape, or form of another, we are ALL in constant recovery – from rejection, from job frustrations, from family upsets, or just a chance occurrence with a stranger than might have been less than kind. Every time we experience one of these moments that could be associated with “pain,”, the choice we make in the next moment – to either relive or promote the pain OR to choose to find the hidden gift – determines the quality of how we experience the nest moment, hour, day….Lifetime!

In the traditional ways, Grandmother Parisha’s people also live each day as a Lifetime. I’ve found an interesting parallel with the “One Day At A Time” philosophy of 12-Step Recovery programs. (Sometimes, we say, “One Moment At A Time.”)

Those honoring the Traditional ways greet the sun as it first appears on the horizon with Appreciation and Thanksgiving for the Gift of a New Day from God-Creator-The Source. At Mid-day we pause to acknowledge our progress, to speak appreciation for the fruits of our labors and relationships, as well as take stock of what we still need to achieve to be complete with our goal-setting for the day, that which we set out to achieve. Then as the sun sets on the horizon, we take inventory of our day. We express Thanksgiving/Appreciation for the Gifts of the Day. This is also a time to bring any interactions with others to completion – to take responsibility for our part and to let go of any ill feelings – so we can go into the Dream Time clear to vision and create the next day – the next new “Life.”

The core element of all this activity is Appreciation, i.e. Thanksgiving.

Every day is Thanksgiving Day. If we live our lives in that manner, our lives will be richer and fuller – NO MATTER WHAT our external circumstances appear to be.

I am reminded of the man who recently returned a backpack filled with over $3,000 to its rightful owner. This was a man who was homeless, lives in a shelter, and has only a bike as transportation to get to job interviews. He was grateful that he could return it to the owner because in the end he just wanted to do the right thing.

So long as we are breathing and have a pulse, we are in the race. Run, walk, or crawl – it doesn’t matter! What matters is maintaining a winning attitude and we will have a blessed life. I am so thankful for Grandmother Parisha, my Family of the Learning Center for Human Development, my blood Family, my Recovery Family and those whom I have come to know as Friends.

May we all come to recognize the Blessings of Abundance and Love that permeate our existance every day, and speak Appreciation as we move through this exciting adventure called Life! -Deborah Adler

*Quoted Definitions from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary ©2010 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated

©2010 Deborah Adler. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Thanksgiving Day, 2010”

  1. Elizabeth November 25, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    I appreciate such a thorough look at appreciation!

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