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A Nature-Informed Reflection on Thanksgiving: Gratitude and Lamentation


Group of people sitting in a forest clearing at sunset, engaging in a mindfulness circle on Thanksgiving, reflecting gratitude and remembrance for nature's gifts.
Embracing Thanksgiving with Mindfulness: A Circle of Reflection in the Heart of Nature

As a Nature-Informed Therapist, Thanksgiving offers a profound moment of reflection, bringing forth a blend of gratitude and lamentation that resonates deeply with both the history of this day and the current state of our natural world.


Gratitude: Embracing Nature's Gifts


In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I find myself enveloped in a deep sense of gratitude. Gratitude for the abundance and beauty of the natural world that surrounds us – the rustling leaves that dance to the rhythm of the wind, the rivers that flow tirelessly, nurturing life in their wake, and the vast diversity of flora and fauna that enrich our planet. It's a time to acknowledge and appreciate the countless ways in which nature supports, sustains, and rejuvenates us. It offers not only a backdrop for our existence but also a rich, interactive experience that enhances our mental and emotional well-being.


As we gather with loved ones, sharing in the bounty of the harvest, it's essential to recognize the interconnectedness of all life. The food on our tables is a testament to nature's generosity and a reminder of our responsibility to care for and protect these precious resources. We must be grateful for the earth that nourishes us, for the air that gives us breath, and for the intricate web of life that sustains us all.


Lamentation: Reflecting on Past and Present


However, Thanksgiving also calls for a time of lamentation. It's a day that carries the weight of a complex history – a history that includes colonization and the suffering of Indigenous peoples. As we delve into nature-informed practices, we acknowledge the land we inhabit and the deep wounds inflicted upon it and its original stewards. This day prompts us to reflect on the past, understanding the need for healing and reconciliation with both the land and its native peoples.


In a similar vein, lamentation extends to our current environmental crises. We mourn the ongoing damage inflicted upon Mother Nature – deforestation, pollution, climate change, and the loss of biodiversity. It's a time to grieve for the natural habitats we have lost and the species that are no longer with us. This sorrow is not passive but rather a catalyst for change and action. It reminds us of the urgency to restore, protect, and treasure the natural world.


A Call for Action and Hope


As we oscillate between gratitude and lamentation, Thanksgiving becomes more than just a celebration; it transforms into a call for awareness and action. It's an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to environmental stewardship, to embrace sustainable practices, and to advocate for policies that protect our planet.


In this moment of reflection, let's not only give thanks for nature's gifts but also commit to being better guardians of the earth. Let's educate ourselves and others about the importance of conservation and work towards a future where nature is respected, preserved, and cherished.


Thanksgiving, through a nature-informed lens, is a poignant amalgamation of joy and sorrow, celebration and reflection. It's a day to be thankful for the wonders of the natural world and to mourn its losses. Most importantly, it's a day to rekindle our commitment to the earth, ensuring that future Thanksgivings will be occasions of true and unblemished gratitude.

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