Modified on: January 31, 2021
Celebrating Black History Month
“Deep human stuff in a political environment.” (Bill T. Jones)
I have so often heard these words: “You should be grateful.” Or, “They should be grateful.” Words often spoken to “put someone in their place”, especially in moments of protest, of advocating for oneself, of expressing concern for what is wounding, of expressing outrage for what is breaking the world. Words meant to silence and subdue. Words of power, and not shared power—power for oneself over others.
What if, rather than demand gratitude of others, we each practiced gratitude ourselves?
Gratitude is a powerful practice. It asks of us mindfulness and humility. It has the power to shift our minds and our feelings. It illuminates possibility. It can bind broken relationships. It can rebuild a world.
This has been a year of pandemic, of protest, of deceit, of loss, of grief, of strain. We have heard ugly comments, comments of power, and not shared power. We have felt concern. We have felt outrage.
What if, in the brokenness of this moment, we practice gratitude? And by cultivating gratitude in ourselves, we cultivate possibility in the world, to rebuild the world.
This month, we will practice gratitude. We will be still, we will feel, we will radiate. We will experiment with ourselves, to see what power gratitude offers us, for rebuilding our world.
And in our practice of gratitude, with mindfulness and humility, we will practice gratitude in celebration of Black History Month,
gratitude, for the sheer humanity, the sheer beauty, the sheer presence of the people of Africa and the African diaspora in our world,
gratitude, for the peoples and continent who gave birth to us all at the origin of our human being,
all people ultimately born of Africa,
gratitude, for those of us who identify as Black,
gratitude, for those of us who share this world with these our siblings,
gratitude for so much that sustains us,
for so much on which we depend and for which we are indebted,
for so much taken, and even so for so much still so generously given that we do not deserve,
gratitude for so much that has made our lives possible
but for which we may never have expressed thanks.
If, with mindfulness and humility, we practice gratitude, who might we become? What might we discover our human being to be? And then, what might we do? What world might we help to build?
“Goodbye binary. Hello future. I’m dreaming…I’m dreaming….” (Bill T. Jones in The Process of Becoming Infinite)
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