For me, it feels right to start giving thanks as the crops grow and the time of the first harvest. So when Thanksgiving rolls around, it seems to me like it’s a little late. However all of the blog posts about gratitude got me thinking about something that I haven’t ever said I was grateful for, and that is being grateful for myself.
Being raised Roman Catholic, you don’t get to think much about taking care of yourself. In Roman Catholicism you are taught in a nutshell that things happen to you because you are bad. Further, you are expected to sin or else they would not require you to confess those sins several times a week.
Another example is the host in communion. Not only do you have to ensure your soul is pure by confession but you also have to consume a wheat host once a week in order to receive the blessings of Jesus. You are considered outside of the church if you cannot receive the actual host for communion every week. Unfortunately for me, even if I wanted to be in communion with the Catholic Church I could not be. I cannot eat wheat, and wheat is a required ingredient in a host according to Roman Catholic doctrine. So in essence, something I cannot control causes me to not be in communion, and thus my future in heaven is in jeopardy. Therefore, something I cannot control makes me evil, and I could either give into that evil or I have to literally eat poison to be saved.
As you can tell, the Catholic Church doesn’t have a very good reputation of empowering their true believers.
The Catholic Church isn’t the only thing out there that makes us feel bad about ourselves. Over and over again in our families, in the media and by our friends and acquaintances we are told we are not good enough. It has gotten to the point that we don’t even know that we are doing it to each other anymore. Someone’s actions are misconstrued into looking like something with a negative intent, and that is all it takes to allow our minds to start beating ourselves up. A minor miscommunication from a mother or father changes a child’s thinking, and thus insecurities form. Media outlets scream advertisements that tell us we aren’t thin enough, pretty enough, don’t make enough or are not smart enough. Bullies at school do things that we carry with us throughout our adulthood. Bosses, coworkers and classmates gravitate toward specific individuals and thus someone feels left out. One by one these things pile up until the thought of not being good enough, not being powerful and secure in who we are is considered normal.
So we reach for the things that make us feel better. We reach for religion, the thought of being in an inclusive group is comforting. We reach for food, as it feels better to stuff our feelings down into our stomachs instead of expressing them. We reach for material goods just to try to fill that hole deep within us, but nothing really satisfies.
Nothing at least, until we realize that the hole we are trying to cover up isn’t a hole at all. It is actually our own potential as human beings.
As I go through the stillness of these dark months I am realizing that I am enough. I am full and complete just as I am right now. I have potential, I am powerful and I am worthy of carrying the mantle as a Priestess of the Gods and Goddesses that wish to have me. I am worthy of working with the spirits of the land, and I am worthy of my ancestors. I am worthy in this life to be whom I wish in this mundane world; and I am strong enough to make a difference in the endeavors of my choosing.
This does not mean there isn’t work to do and it absolutely doesn’t mean that I am entitled to be handed anything. But what it does mean is that I know I am strong enough to move things forward in the way I need them to be in order to pursue my goals and dreams.
This also doesn’t mean that I am exempt from the circumstances of my choices. I still have my karmic debt to deal with, and I can choose to make more of that debt to be paid, or I can start to erase it. The choice is mine to make.
We have too many things in this life that scream at us that we are unworthy of being who we choose to be. Let this writing be a spark to others to realize that things can change deep within ourselves to the point that we feel worthy again. Let us each look deep into our soul and realize that we each have our personal truth of who we are and what we can accomplish. Let us each recognize the astonishing light of our own being, and may we use it to honor the Gods and our ancestors by being beacons to those who are in a place so dark that they cannot find their true light within themselves. After all, what could be more pleasing to the Gods than for them to see us recognize our true potential and use that to help others?
So for this Thanksgiving, I am choosing to be grateful for starting to learn my personal truth. And I am grateful that I can find the words to share this truth with others. I am grateful for my strength, my beauty, and the realization that I am enough. And I am grateful that I have the opportunity to honor my Gods and my kin with who I am and what I choose to be.