The only way to keep a gift alive is to pass it along. So on Thanksgiving Day this year — in a world where so many have been deprived of so much — I’ll give thanks by finding more ways to share the abundance I’ve been given.
I’ll also re-read this Mary Oliver poem. If I could embrace the idea that “My work is loving the world” — and spend my days living more fully into that job description — I’d be giving thanks not just with my words but with my life.
Parker Palmer was trained as a sociologist (like me), but spends his time educating about mindful teaching, leadership, and democracy. I do view his work as an inspiration for my day job of university teaching, and have given several of my yoga teachers a book of poems inspired by his groundbreaking book, The Courage to Teach.
It can be tempting to follow the herd and assign a theme of “gratitude” to the yoga class one teaches nearest Thanksgiving. Instead, yesterday, at Sangha Yoga Collective, where I teach, I gave a pre-holiday coping restorative class with the theme of balance, between effort and ease, between activity and repose. We’re entering a season in which many of us “show up” for others in very vital, but also potentially draining ways. Can we do the “work of loving the world” in a way that is sustainable by nourishing ourselves?
But I was feeling grateful for the ability to teach last night, to share these practices. I am grateful for Sangha and my colleagues there, too.
Whether you are a regular student of the Collective, or new to it, I hope you are able to connect with my colleagues and me by joining us for our free team–taught class and holiday potluck on December 19. See the Sangha Yoga Collective workshop and event page for more details. This would be a great way to continue the party of our gratitude for our students.