Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksliving 2011

This year for Thanksgiving I've apparently made a controversial choice by choosing to skip the meal and the festivities to fast, be mindful, and reflect instead. While the idea was not initially mine, and I will admit, I was reticent at first (Mostly because of skipping the pie baking), I feel really confident in the decision to spend the day, and the surrounding days, being present in a different way. Over the last couple of years I've managed to squelch my previous frustrations with the holiday by making it my own-- a Celebration of Life and Love and Graciousness, with pie. But, after the "Arab Spring" and being in the midst of the "American Fall," this year seems like an appropriate time to reevaluate the mythology around Thanksgiving that allowed me to ensconce it in my own language, "re-message" it, and celebrate it for my own reasons. This isn't to say that I'll never make another Thanksgiving meal, just that the history of this day and this country has me thinking that we could all use a little clarity in place of a food coma whether we chose to celebrate the day in the traditional way or not.

Instead of the big meal, T and I are planning to fast for 7- 10 days starting Sunday. We'll be drinking about 20 ounces of juice everyday, so it's not a total fast, just some abstinence from the preoccupation with food that frequently dominates my mind. Instead, I hope the clear air space will offer up a little time to think about my motivations as a writer, in the arts, as a human being. While T is thinking of this as a "boycott" of Thanksgiving, I'm thinking of it as an opportunity to give thanks in a new way, and also as an opportunity to"boycott" Black Friday by not consuming anything on that day except the contents of our minds and hearts and the beautiful atmosphere of this incredible city that we live in. I feel like the last week of November is a week in which we, as a country, glut ourselves with food, with shopping, with excessive ingestion in general, and it is this insatiable craving for excess that acts like a parasite, gnawing at our collective ability to move our country forward, to envision a better way of living, to really live our lives. So, what better time to try something else?

When I made the shift from "excusitarian" to vegan (Thanks for the vocab Colleen Patrick-Goudreau! Actually thanks for a lot CPG, you inspire me!) it was part of a decision to live a more intentional life-- To live everyday with an intention, with compassion, with openness, with an optimistic vision of the future, and with the courage to speak my truth and listen to others who may or may not agree with me with an always open heart. It was also a decision to critically evaluate my own complacent participation in the academic world, American capitalism and democracy, consumption of goods and services, interpersonal relationships...everything. And these evaluations have led me to do a little restructuring, face my addictions, recognize my hypocrisies, and do my best to do my best everyday to buy less, want less, and think more. 

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