Dear KMC Community,
Coming originally from Britain, I didn’t used to do Thanksgiving; and indeed my Dad asked last year, “Is this the holiday when they give thanks that they got rid of us?!” I let him know that he was thinking of July the 4th 😆 In any event, you haven’t gotten rid of me as it happens. And I’ve been thinking of you all even more than usual as we approach Thanksgiving because, whatever else is going on, I am very thankful that you are all hanging in there, listening to the teachings, and meditating to stay sane and/or make spiritual progress. Our world needs you.
Apparently the word “thanks” is connected to the word “grateful”, no surprises there, really. Whatever else you may think about this holiday culturally, I think we could all agree that this is a good time of the year to cultivate gratitude, which is nice, as study after study shows that feeling grateful is an enormous predictor of happiness, a kind of happiness superpower; and we all like being happy.
I sometimes think of “grateful” as “great-full”, ie, feeling full of all that is great. (Or something like that.) Dictionary.com says it means “warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful” as well as “pleasing to the mind or senses; agreeable or welcome; refreshing.” Gratitude does please our mind. It helps us enjoy our lives immensely. It helps us feel happy, whole, enriched, and confident. Instead of focusing on the things that are wrong with our life, and of course we can all come up with a long list, we focus on the things that are right.
And in Buddhism, that turns out to be a cosmic list! Which I want to talk more about tomorrow (Wednesday 25th) evening in a light-hearted but hopefully uplifting talk on gratitude to get us all in the best mood for Thursday. Please join us!
I have to say that right now I am feeling grateful for our outgoing managers, Alex and Pagma, without whom this last year would have been a disaster. Here we are celebrating Pagma a couple of weeks ago. She is off to Washington DC and, man, we will miss her, but if anywhere needs Dharma …
I am also so grateful for our incoming managers, Erica and Kate. A lot of you already know Kate because she has been with our Center for as long as I have, and this is her second reprisal of the role – thank you kind-hearted Bodhisattva warrior (not worrier!)!
On the other hand, Erica doesn’t know many of us yet, so please reach out to welcome her by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. She so generously and bravely flew to us in the middle of a pandemic from Dallas, Texas, where she has been their talented EPC for many years – I can’t tell you how lucky we are that she has agreed to join us. We took Erica out into the mountains the other day … and I can tell she is going to love them.
Too often we pine over the things we haven’t got whilst neglecting the things we have. Counting our blessings is a way to focus on what we’ve got going for us, the green grass right under our noses. I’m hard put to think of a place where the grass is greener than our Rocky Mountains. There is nowhere I’d rather wait out a pandemic ... so add that to our Buddhist TV on demand, and I think we’re doing pretty well.
In December we have a mini retreat introducing meditation for everyone who is stressed, so please tell your family and friends about it (unless they’re already totally relaxed and blissful.
So, all in all, counting my blessings I feel lucky to be alive, lucky to be here, and lucky to know you. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
Ps, Also lucky to have these little rascals running around as we self-isolate. Anyone want a kitten or two for a holiday gift?! They want good homes.