November 26, 2020
Letter to Fam and Friends
In thinking about this holiday--what it used to mean, and what it has become--I want to transform its meaning for me, on a personal level. I want it to be a day just like any other, when I feel a sense of gratitude and I write those thoughts and feelings of thanks down on paper. Yeah, like with a pen, on real paper!
More importantly than what this day means to me, is letting all of you know that I am grateful for you! It sounds trite--who writes a Gratitude letter on Turkey Day? Me! Especially now, when many of you, like me, are not gathering with family and friends for the holidays. This Pandemic Holiday Season of Coron-inanity, when a family gathering for Turkey Dinner in November could mean a trip to the morgue for Christmas. This is not a Happy Holiday season for so many in the US and all over the globe. It can either be really difficult to hang on to gratitude or really easy to grasp because of all that is going on and that we are still alive, have an income, and a place to live. You know me, normally I'm abroad anyway. I'm used to celebrating holidays with new acquaintances or by myself, tucked away in some place outside the USA.
This year, I'm enjoying the view of snow-topped mountains and a yard full of white-glazed Christmas trees that rise twice as high as the cabin. Directly outside my window is a perfect scene of holiday winter, coloured in green and white. Those two colors are randomly interrupted by the nut-brown, slow motion graze of mule deer across the front acreage, or the golden eyes and body of the neighbor's Golden Lab-ish mutt, coming over to wag Good Morning and beg for a scrap.
I could live happily the rest of the winter seeing only those four colours! Sigh. I'm kind of sad to leave here, but it's time to move on and get out of my comfort zone. I'll be in Denver after the Sixth of December for one month, then... who knows.
Since my return to the US in March, the political and cultural climate cannot be ignored. I’ve been doing much research on American economic policy, cultural history (the undoctored, non-colonial, non-white versions), and foriegn relations and I’ve learned so much (I’m still trying to figure out how to get paid to read and learn-- my favourite pastime!) These studies have opened my eyes and made me so much more aware of what has been going on in the US since the “Reagan Era”. Since I’m not in the US that frequently, I haven’t paid much attention, but since my return, the collective pain and despair are inescapable! To skip a whole bunch of facts and thoughts and opinions on the current US situation, I’ll just state that it’s made me want to do something of service and assistance while I am here, stuck in these Un-united States. I’m seeking teaching positions in underserved areas, in other words. I still yearn to get out of this country and live somewhere peaceful, non-violent, and sane, but no one wants a person with a U.S. passport right now, as we are the Super Spreaders of the pandemic. The past few months I have been wishing that I never left China! It’s safer there now! Plus, I’d be gainfully employed. Yet, I know there is something better on the horizon for me and that whatever is coming my way is something good. That said, I’ll seek work here and probably end up in the US at least until next summer. But who knows?!
Each of you knows the place you hold in my heart and mind. Since I’m taking another break from the black hole of social media, I can’t keep in touch with all of you as easily. And I want to tell you all how much you mean to me. In spite of all the above, I’m glad to be back during this time. Circumstances have aligned and I’ve been able to visit many of you and it looks like I’ll be able to see those I’ve missed before I leave since I’ll be in the U.S. for a while! I’d like to be a better friend and family member; i.e., keep in touch more frequently, have authentic conversations, express my love and care for each one of you. I’m grateful for you, My Family. I’m grateful for you, My Friends. I’m grateful for You All, all the time, not just on this Commercial-based National Day of Gluttony and Consumerism. (Yeah, I had to get that one in, too!) As my age increases, as my emotional intelligence increases, as my time in solitude has increased (by choice), I think of each of you quite often. My intention is to always be working toward actionable steps: how I can evolve, how I can be a better friend/sister/cousin/aunt/niece, how I can be kinder, how I can be less selfish, how I can be of service, how I can be more self-compassionate… if any of you have a personal recommendation for any of those, let me know!
Yet, I know that the answer is found in Daily Expressions of Gratitude: Gratitude for my life, Gratitude for each of you, Gratitude for What Is. When I feel a sense of Gratitude, I should act on it. When I live in a sense of Gratitude, I reach all goals and dreams and wants toward which I stretch, while accepting that the direction of desire might also change. What I do not want to change is having known each of you, and having had the gift of each one of you in my life.
Today, tomorrow, and on all future days, I am grateful for each of you. I love you!
*Yes, I changed the spelling of my name--some of you already know this story. In India, they kept spelling my name “Jeena”; I dismissed it as the Hindi phonetic spelling. When I finally asked about it, I learned that they also have this name in Hindi, and that it has two meanings: “life” and “be happy”. I fell in love with the meaning and spelling! “Live happily” or “Life is happy” as an appellation--no, as an instruction! (It also means elevator, b
ut we are just going to ignore that one!)