Thanksgiving, Gratitude, and the Flower of Life

Today is Thanksgiving, a day on which it’s appropriate to give public thanks for the gifts we’ve received from life itself. Until recently, I had great disdain for Thanksgiving–just last year, I wrote a bitchy attack on it–mostly because until recently, bitterness and resentment were my favorite go-to emotions.

Paradoxically, I had to lose a lot in the past few months to appreciate what I have, and to grasp the true meaning of gratitude: a job, a marriage, a house, a car, tens of thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours of labor, and a large handful of illusions, for starters. I sold the house, but stand to make very little from it, so I count it as a loss. I sold the car for a ridiculously lowball figure, so I regard that as a loss. I’m in litigation, make a nominal wage at a dirty job doing hard physical labor, and lack permanent housing or the means to pay for it. I have temporary housing, but it lacks running water. So there are challenges. And yet, life has never been better. Last year, I had everything I now lack, and made sure to get up bright and early “to take a crap on Thanksgiving.” Now I’m writing a paean to gratitude. What a difference a year makes. Continue reading

The Israeli Occupation: What It Is, Why It Matters, and What To Do About It

Just a reminder for those in the area: I’ll be giving a talk on “The Israeli Occupation and Settlement Enterprise: What It Is, Why It Matters, and What To Do About It,” this Saturday, May 21, at 11 am at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton, located at 50 Cherry Hill Rd, Princeton, New Jersey, 08540. (I incorrectly described the start time in a previous post as 1 pm, but that’s when it ends.) The talk is sponsored by String of Pearls Reconstructionist Jewish Congregation of Princeton, and is open to the public. Thanks to Hilary Persky, String of Pearls’s Secretary, for the invitation. The talk takes place immediately after the Congregation’s Saturday morning sabbath celebration. Continue reading