I love you I'm sorry please forgive me thank you

Today is Thanksgiving, and I feel these words burning in my solar plexus with the deepest sense of desire. For a week I have been contemplating the connection between Thanksgiving and the travesty happening at Standing Rock. This holiday is meant to symbolize peace between new settlers and Native Americans, yet at this moment white men and women in power are using a multitude of methods of extreme force and brutality against those who are called to protect our water.

I am writing this because I am still participating in Thanksgiving, and I am standing firm in my support of Standing Rock. I considered boycotting today. Oh yeah did I mention I’m also a vegan who can’t stand the sickness of the meat industry and today is a day when the corpses of majestic birds are paraded en masse? But this isn’t about that. This is about humans. I know that some believe animals were put on this earth for our service and consumption, but I don’t think many feel that way about other humans. So, today I write for Standing Rock and to share what I’m feeling because I have no other way. I am participating in Thanksgiving, and I will be vigilant in my gladness today.

Guilt. She is not a new emotion. I live internally in a place of policy, rules and procedures not because I think it’s the “right” way, but because if you look at my astrology chart I have most planets in my sixth house. It is who I am. I create an internal guideline of how things will come to pass. It’s not like I sit and write down a plan for every little thing in my life. These guidelines happen organically without any conscious thought at all. I become aware of them eventually and then, guilt. I shouldn’t be this way. I shouldn’t expect these things. I am not enough. I should be more like those who live on heart and air. There are days when the internal monologue is deafening. I observe guilt almost daily. I do not banish her, and I do not beg her entrance, but she is always welcome. I am learning to allow her presence without reaction, but I am also a creature of deep feeling and loyalty. Yesterday I was awash with guilt. You see I had a pretty good day. I joined a communal meditation, empowered two new people with essential oils, did some of the work that I normally put off because it’s the boring stuff, guided a Yoga class and had a great dinner and conversation with my partner. And yet, there are people being injured, tortured at Standing Rock. Guilt. I should not be happy when there is so much pain.

We teach what we need to learn, and last night I shared a poem in my Yin class by Jack Gilbert. If you are an Elizabeth Gilbert apprentice, I’m sure you know it as she mentions it often and even has a quote from it tattooed on her. The poem is called “A Brief for the Defense.”

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.

I’ve had this poem in my toolbox to share in a class ever since Trump became President elect, but it hasn’t felt right, or I’ve been too scared. It’s an intense poem, and it mentions god; I don’t want to offend anyone. As a nation we decided that bigotry, misogyny, othering, gentrification, etc. is A-OK for someone in power. The love of power, oil and “things” is more important to some then water. Guess what? These things offend me. So, last night I shared this poem. This is my mantra

If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world.

I may not be literally standing at Standing Rock. I may not have more than five or ten dollars to offer. But I promise that I will continue to risk delight and I will be stubborn in my gladness. I will not lessen the importance of your deprivation. I stand with Standing Rock, and I celebrate giving thanks. I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. #hooponopono