Pixabay November is my favorite month; and yes, I was born near Election Day. I love the promise and poke of Thanksgiving, with its insistent question, “What are you thankful for, right now?”

In this time of divisiveness and mean speech, fostering suspicion of those who don’t share our political, religious or racial/cultural views, Thanksgiving’s gratitude practice offers relief for body, mind and spirit, by asking us to lift up and breathe in that which gives us joy.

This year I am grateful for:

-sharing my life with a partner who sees my beautiful heart and challenges me to come from my heart

-our three grandsons with their unique, personalities, their open joy in connecting with people, their willingness to play until they drop

-a diverse circle of family and friends, willing to listen and show up with kindness -living long enough to make amends for actions from my youth

-the sunrise, the open sky, the sunset; the gift of the MetroParks, given to us by our forebears, who trust us to care and pass them on

-the calming presence of the always changing lake outside my window, inviting me into this very moment, letting my breath deepen, my back grow longer, and my shoulders drop

-ministries with UU’s in Oberlin and Olmsted that celebrate the power and responsibility of community to lift the voice of conscience, creativity and compassion

-relationships we cultivate with each other, widening our mind-view, calming our fear, opening the heart beyond ourselves,

-an evolving religious tradition re-awakening to its depths, possibilities, and imperatives.

The shared spiritual practice of our time is to pay attention to that which opens and engages the heart, that which protects us from fear. What brings you joy? What are you grateful for?