On Gratitude, Jacob and Giving Thanks

Gratitude. It's the word that's defined my life the most these last few months, as I've journeyed from New York to the playa to the playa of life that never ends, from west coast to lord knows where I'll end up next. I'm grateful for each and every one who's been part of this journey, from those I've met on the road to those who've supported me from beyond at my place of origin to my final destination, wherever that may be.

I've been humbled by the extent to which humans can come through for one another in an outpouring of love and benevolence; the efforts expended by people everywhere for the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe, gifts of the gracious and everlasting spirit that pervades our universe, and the divine orchestrations of our reality that's shown me that we are never alone, we are always taken care of, and we as a planet will always be one, undivided and united in essence.

In the Torah of our time, the weekly portion of "VaYishlach", we learn of Jacob's prayer as he travels. He articulates how he feels small, insignificant, humbled, in relation to the bounty he's received from God. Though it may sound that way, self negation isn't the key to gratitude, Jacob teaches us - our gratitude comes from remembering that what we are receiving is merely a drop in the bucket in relation to the divine goodness that's out there for all of us, if only we tap in. If we adjust our expectations - forget the gold plated toilets and breathe the fresh air instead - and widen our eyes, we can be grateful for everything - for who are we but recipients, what are we but divine emanations of beauty and love and mercy?

Commemorating a historical event that doesn't sit well in our collective national consciousness is tough, and reconciling the cognitive dissonance with Instagrams of pumpkin pie doesn't quite work either. So I'd like to offer a wish and a prayer that we can reconcile the horrors of our past by working to a better future; acknowledging the great benevolence of others toward the hungry and poor throughout times past; and bring down the original harvest celebration of abundance celebrated for timeless years past around the globe, not just in America.

To a future where no one goes hungry and everyone has the facilities to give, receive, and express thanks for everything in between.