Updated: Nov 19
I thought I would share my personal thanksgiving address. This is a personal practice, so I try to recite the words at least once a week to remind myself how lucky I am to be here.
Here it goes.
First and foremost, I send my greetings and thanks to the people who remember and continue to beautify this world with thoughts of gratitude and kindness. We have the privilege of living in this place and experiencing the beauty that this Earth has created, and I am ever more grateful to those who can experience this with me. There are so many that touched my heart directly – my family, my mentors and my adversaries. I send my love and thanks to all the people of this world, now our minds are one.
Humans have evolved into being as we walked on this earth. Our Mother Earth has been the stage in which our human story begins, and She has always given us a firm ground so that we can stand tall. Her beautiful curves, manifested in the form of mountains, valleys, desserts, flat lands and hills have inspired us to be better, to strive to be as beautiful as she is. She is the most eloquent artist I have ever encountered and I am ever so grateful for being in the presence of such greatness. We send our thanks and love to our Mother, the Earth, now our minds are one.
They say 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, and that life as we know it does not exist without it. It is the mission of water to continue to flow to allow life to flourish in the most precarious of situations. In doing so, the water takes on the form of clouds, the rain, the rivers, the waterfalls, the lakes and the glaciers, all the while landscaping the earth. We are so very grateful that the water continues to flow and quench the thirst of all life. We send our greetings and love to all the Waters of the world, now our minds are one.
Inside the water live the most primitive and tiniest of creatures to the largest and intelligent of creatures we know. From the tiny yet formidable water bears, the tiny yet the keystone to all life in the water, the plankton, the tiny yet the base of an entire ecosystem housing thousands of species, the corals to the mighty whale who once left the water only to go back, and to the intelligent, fun loving dolphins. They say the fish clean the water for us to drink, and so many of them give themselves to us for food. We are so grateful that they continue to exist and hope it will remain so. We send our greetings and thanks to all the creatures in the water, now our minds are one.
As we travel out of the water onto the land, the land is covered in the layer of grasses, bugs, fungi and all sorts of critters. We often do not tread lightly on these creatures, and yet they are probably the most important for our livelihood. They create the soil that feeds us, and build the soft, fertile ground we will eventually lay to rest in. The worms, the fungi, the bees, the roaches, the mycelium and all the small grasses that keep the earth healthy. Together they continually regenerate life and make this world fresh and renewed. We send our greetings and thanks to all the countless critters that inhabit the earth.
Among the grasses are the flowering plants, those that stand taller and build nests for flying insects. Plants are so crucial to our survival, not only keeping the earth together but also producing the air that we need. While green is the most nurturing color to our eyes, the flowers brought the world colors and scents to fill the air. We are every so grateful that the plants inhabit the earth and continue to house the bugs. We send our greetings and thanks to all the plants in the world, now our minds are one.
Within the plants are those ones that are special to us, the food plants and the medicinal plants. We are so blessed to have a cornucopia of food plants that provide us with nutrients and amaze us with every taste imaginable of sweet, salty, bitter, sour, savory. Their presence allows us to have dedicated art form, the culinary arts that are crucial for a good life. Food is medicine and they say there is a plant for every illness we could ever have. The medicines heal us and remain there for us in those times of needs, and so we are so very grateful that they exist, quietly until we are in dire need. We send our greetings to the food plants, the medicinal plants and those people who remember how to use them, now our minds are one.
We walk upon on this earth not alone but together with the four-legged creatures. The rats who seem to love humans so much they are found anywhere we are, the lions that roar and have us tremble at their gaze, the dogs, our ever loyal and loving companion, the cows who continue to let us slaughter them without much fight. These animals are our friends and our teachers because they never forget their ways. Each animal is a specialist in something and we should always remember to learn from them. We are ever so grateful that the animals continue to inhabit the earth with us. We send our greetings and thanks to all the animals of the world, now our minds are one.
As we walk about this earth we can sit, stand or lean on trees. The trees are our silent partners that continue to give without asking for anything in return. They are our source of food, shelter, shade, oxygen and most importantly, fire. Learning to use fire has been on of humanity’s biggest step forward and it was the trees that allowed this to happen. These beautiful life-forms that reach for the stars are so gentle and giving, and all they ask is that we stand close to them and give them our thanks and our breath sometimes. We send our greetings and thanks to all the trees of the world, now our minds are one.
Up in the trees live the birds who raise our hearts every day with their song. Their chirps and cackles bring joy into light into the otherwise quiet world. Today we are able to cross oceans and continents in a matter of hours because the birds inspired us that we could fly. Their ability to soar through the air taught us the the art and we are ever so grateful for that. We send our greetings and thanks to the birds, now our minds are one.
The birds fly with the wind under their wings. The winds are a mysterious existence – we know they exist and yet we can’t actually see them. We can see their trails in the blades of grass and the swaying of the trees, the swirls of flower petals in the spring. Without the winds our world would be stagnant and many of the plants here in Hawaii would not be here. Winds bring an air of expectation, a hint of what’s to come. This scent of the future instills hope into our hearts. We are grateful they continue to move about and keep life fresh. We send our greetings and thanks, now our minds are one.
Sometimes with a flash and a big roar the thundering beings come rolling across the sky. The Iroquois call them the grandparents who bring awe into our hearts and remind us of greater powers in nature. They come with loud roars and bless the lands with ample rain. Some believe their powers created the first living creature on this earth. Today the same power lights up our homes and this little computer that has become an extension of my body. We send our greeting and thanks to the thundering beings, now our minds are one.
In the night sky we often seek guidance from the grandmother, moon. Mahina, the ever gentle presence who is always there for us in the darkest of times. With her sot strength she governs the tides in the oceans and the cycles of our bodies. They say she watches over the women to ensure the cycles of life continues. We are grateful for her grace, her light and her gentle influences over all of us. We send our greetings and thanks to Mahina, the moon, now our minds are one.
Surrounding her in the night sky are the twinkling stars, a display of magical worlds far beyond this earth. Though billions of light years away, we can see them with our naked eyes and depend on them to help us navigate thousands of miles in the open ocean. From time immemorial they inspired all human beings to tell stories of lands at the edge of our imagination. A part of this world that we can only imagine thus far, pushing the limits of our own minds far beyond the universe. We send our greetings and thanks to the stars, Na Hoku, now our minds are one.
Each day begins with the rising of the sun, Ka La. He brings with him warmth and radiance that is unmatched by anything we have experienced. The sun is the physical manifestation of the Creator, as it is the source of energy on this Earth. It is located at the exact distance from us so that we receive the perfect amount of its radiance. When I stand exposed to the sun and relish in its warmth on my skin, or as I sit watching the sunset and see sparkling arms reaching out to me, I know that everything around me is receiving the same exact energy without any exceptions. Ka La gives unconditionally and we are so lucky to receive it. We send our greetings and thanks to Ka La, the Sun. Now our minds are one.
We humans have the tendency to lose our ways and forget our Original Instructions to be the stewards of this earth. In those times come the Enlightened Teachers to guide us and help us remember the good mind. Without their teachings it is possible we could be living in hell on earth. They are so crucial to the survival of the human race, and we are so grateful that they appear when we most need them. We send our greetings and thanks to the Enlightened Teachers who have come before us, walk among us and who will come in the future. Now our minds are one.
In the Iroquois tradition there are Spirits of the Four Corners who protect the earth and watch over all living beings. They ensure the survival of life as we know it, and we can often feel their presence in the face of great nature. The feeling of awe, the inspiration you receive when standing at the top of a mountain is their presence in our hearts. We are so grateful that they continue to watch over us and touch our hearts. We send our greetings and thanks to the Spirits, now our minds are one.
We have now reached the top of the ladder to the Creator. The Creator is called by many names throughout the world, and in my world it is the source of life. There is a magic that happens when inorganic materials take shape into living organisms that transcends laws of physics in its actions. A life force that every one of us embodies. There is a love that transcends our physical love and our mental needs, something that is more essential to our being and only when we are honest and open to it, we can feel its presence. That sensation of snowflakes softly landing and swiftly disappearing on your skin--an apparently random and mundane phenomena--can impart such wonder and joy into our soul. We are so blessed that we can be among the created, this beautiful world of constant change and love. We are so grateful that we can see, hear, smell, touch, taste all of your creation and be able to exist on this beautiful planet.
We send our love, our thoughts, our greetings and our thanks to the Creator. Now our minds are one.