Greetings, Luminous One!
For those of us in the US, this week we celebrate Thanksgiving, when we hearken back with gratitude for the first harvest feast enjoyed by the earliest English settlers and the local tribal people.
We now know the sad tales of devastation to those original Americans that eventually ensued, but in the beginning, we believe that they extended their bounty to the newcomers with open hearts.
And it wasn't just the feast, but the many ways in which the natives took the settlers under their wings to teach them how to survive in a new climate.
Pure acts of Generosity even though they must have had some apprehensions about the
I'm guessing there might have been a decision to override their fears and instead listen to their humanitarian impulse to treat the Europeans kindly.
We have much to learn from the Native Americans' capacity for Generosity, many of whom continue to extend themselves to us to this day despite what has been done to them.
One might expect a sculpture like this to reside in our American west but, no... it's somewhere else altogether.
At the height of Ireland's Potato Famine from 1845-1852, the Choctaw Nation sent a donation in response to the starvation that was occurring.
Having recently barely survived their own infamous "Trail of Tears", the tribe was so overcome with empathy for the Irish people that they collected $170 as a way of helping to mitigate the disaster. (That sum would represent 10's of thousands of dollars today.)
To honor such pure Generosity, this sculpture "Kindred Spirits" was erected in east Cork, Ireland in 2017.
Here's another extraordinary story from my own backyard...
I live in Massachusetts next to Great Falls, a powerful waterfall on the Connecticut River.
Before Europeans arrived, tribes from all over New England would gather here for planting, ceremony, exchange of gifts, marital prospecting and alliance building.
The fish were so plentiful that baskets held under the falls would be full within minutes. This was a sacred, harmonious place.
Then, came the horrendous genocide event of 1676 (the First Indian War).
In retaliation for a recent raid of livestock from nearby settlers, a rogue battalion led by Captain Turner massacred hundreds of women and children when they were sleeping. This brutal event marked a turning point in how tribes were dealt with ever after.
Many years later, the renamed town of Turners Falls considered its misfortunes; although there had been plenty of prospects for a bright future over the years, the town had never prospered, and there was a belief that the devastating events of 1676 were at least partially to blame.
So in 2004, the town leadership took a big leap and reached out to what remained of the Narragansetts to request a Reconciliation Ceremony (aka "Burying the Hatchet").
Much to their credit, they agreed. Learn more about this HERE.
Their willingness to move forward in the spirit of reconciliation reveals such Generosity of spirit that it takes my breath away.
And we know there are many other examples of such largesse within similar communities around the world, which never cease to move me deeply. If they can forgive, so can we.
So, as we gather around our tables this week, let's bury whatever hatchets may have accumulated in the past and move forward with both Gratitude and Generosity in our hearts.
It takes both to build a better world, one step at a time.
Much love and Infinite blessings,