Thanksgiving, 2019…

6 thoughts on “Thanksgiving, 2019…”

  1. Yes to all you’ve said . . .and thanks as always for sitting down to write! As you know, I’ve been thinking about the victim/perpetrator duality for years now, especially after being introduced to Bearing Witness practice by the Zen Peacemakers. I’ve come to associate the concept of perpetrator with responsibility rather than guilt. As I bear witness to the terrible, perhaps fatal, damage our species has done to Mother Earth, I see that feeling guilty about it is kind of a dead end while taking loving action with others, out of a shared sense of responsibility, feels like it might actually make me happy! May all our Thanksgiving conversations be marked by kindness. And the hardest one for me–may we always remember, our opinions are only our opinions! 🙂

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    1. Dear Anita, I always appreciate your honest and deep reflections, and the fact that you consistently read and comment on my blog. I appreciate your explanation of your experience with the word “perpetrator” and that you associate it more with responsibility than guilt. I sort of get the use of the word, esp. in that way, but it still bothers me, because of its more commonly understood meaning and implication. And because of how it “feels” in my body. Most important I agree with your reminder regarding opinions! And kindness! May it be so!


  2. This topic resonates with me after being called out by a friend after him seeing on Facebook that I had flown to Hawaii for a vacation. He was appalled that I would do something so damaging to the climate after calling myself an environmentalist which I actually never have labeled myself as such. I try to do my best and make choices that are right but alas I will not stop traveling so that does make me a perpetrator and a victim. But i really found the labels hurtful and judgmental. It was a rough conversation but definitely made me think about this subject a lot.


    1. Dear Terri, I really feel you. This is exactly what I’m writing about here. The issues themselves are not really the question here; we all, more or less, get what the issues are. Next comes what we are able and/or willing to do about any of it, given our conditioning, etc. And then in the process of that, how we speak with each other. What I know for sure (to quote Oprah and the title of her book) is that speaking in a way that is hurtful and judgmental of others does nothing to create positive change and in fact only inflicts harm. Given the nature of our society it is not easy to speak in ways that are both meaningful and kind, to go beneath the surface conversation at the same time we always speak with kindness. The situation is complicated and dangerous, and has a long history to it. We need to feel our way forward in ways that are both effective, courageous and compassionate. Thank you for all the really great environmental work you do do. And for your thoughtful reflection. Love you!


  3. Thank you, dear Gayle, for taking the time to write about…. E Pluribus Unum…for in fact, isn’t that what these polaritiess end up being —part of the whole? And thank you for including the poem by Thich Nach Hanh which sounds so much like Whitman. Welcome back…and please keep posting.


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