November 27th, 2008: For decades, my two favorite holidays have been Thanksgiving and Passover. Thanksgiving celebrates communal abundance and reaches into gratitude for being alive. Passover celebrates the escape from tyranny followed by establishing trust with the divine. In the past dozen years, Thanksgiving for me has also meant going to Gaetano’s house for dinner. Every year our ritual after the food is to go around the table and allow each person to talk about their current feelings of gratitude. Last year, I was grateful to have a country home in Glen Ellen where I could reconnect with the rhythms of the seasons by digging in the garden, chopping firewood, mulching soil, trimming, raking and nurturing. This year, I am grateful to be alive in spite of my health crisis. Over time, I’ve listened to many men at Thanksgiving table express their joy in still being alive in spite of HIV or other challenging illnesses. This year, it’s my turn to say those words.
As we went around the table tonight, the annual depth of feeling unfolded. Everyone is grappling with the profundity of urgent and significant life lessons. This year, we went around the table twice, because people were triggered by a previous share or were reminded of some other revelation leading them to awe and humility.
Although I’m now sitting at my keyboard—having finally excused myself from the table—I have another important gratitude to express. I am grateful to the readers of this blog and the support that all of you have brought to my struggle to start treatments and now, with my chemo courses advancing, my work to hold the chemo energies in my body so that the cancer can be killed and the rest of me can live. I have never asked a far-flung community to help me survive. It’s an amazing act to reach across the electronic grid and say, “Help me.” And so gratifying to hear word back, either directly or via the vibes, “Yes, I’m glad to help you.” For many years, I’ve known the blessing of care giving. Now, I feel the warmth and trust of being well cared for. This is huge for me. Thank you, thank you.