When we were in Massachusetts this past month we had the opportunity to visit Plymouth Rock.

I’m not sure what we were expecting to see,  but our first impression was that this 10 ton boulder had been preserved in a “jail” setting.

We read the history surrounding it, and saw that there are paintings depicting the famous Pilgrims each with a foot placed on it when they landed ashore, though they really don’t know if this is what happened,  maybe they tied the rope of the dingy of the Mayflower to it and stepped ashore?  From what I understand though,  it was 121 years after 1620 (1741) that the spot was identified as the precise location where pilgrims set foot.  http://www.history.com/news/the-real-story-behind-plymouth-rock.   This rock is considered the “Stepping Stone of New England ” and on it is carved is  “1620”, the year our forefathers arrived.   There’s a big crack in the middle because it was split in two while in transit to the city center.  They left 1/2 on shore and the other half went to downtown to go on display. Pieces of it was chipped off in significance of patriotism and no doubt there are bits strewn about the U.S.  This rock has been through it’s fair share of changes, but the significance of it is something to be considered, the history has truly become a symbol of a new beginning.  What I find interesting as current events show that this rock sits in” jail”and so do we in a metaphorical sense. We all have our histories, just like the rock, transported, removed, split in half, put together again and bits have been chipped off, yet there it sits, still strong, all by itself in a cage for millions of people to view year after year.

Some of us continue to sit  in own prisons, what ever they may be.  I think we do a whole lot of self gratifying verses being in service to others. Instead of being the strong rock we can be,  we tend to complain,and whine about the things we don’t have.  As a black belt, I have found that one of the true definitions of being one, is to continue to be a student while at the same time passing along my knowledge, humility and understanding that I am still a very small piece is this big world of knowledge and humanity.   I have learned that while I have parts of my knowledge strewn about, whether it be through my children, my students or my friends if I remain humble, hopefully my thoughts and ideas will continue to live through them when I am gone.  This may be self satisfying….hmmm.  Is it possible to be in service to others while at the same time be satisfied in the end result.  I think yes – I am thankful for this.

There’s a statue that sits above Plymouth Rock, it is of Massasoit Sachem,  he was the leader of the Wampanoag Tribe, while you can read the precise history of here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massasoit .  I recall reading the plaques near his monument and I was dishearted to learn a different kind of history that I was not was taught in schools.  http://www.rense.com/general45/thanks.htm

There is a group that mourns the day of Thanksgiving each year at this monument, they gather hear in protest of Thanksgiving.  The story of the Pilgrims and the Indians joining together in harmony while dining on Turkey, stuffing, corn and fresh baked bread is remembered differently in the American Indian History.

Quoted from the above website:“In 1621 the myth of thanksgiving was born. The colonists invited Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoags, to their first feast as a follow up to their recent land deal. Massasoit in turn invited 90 of his men, much to the chagrin of the colonists. Two years later the English invited a number of tribes to a feast “symbolizing eternal friendship.” The English offered food and drink, and two hundred Indians dropped dead from unknown poison.The first day of thanksgiving took place in 1637 amidst the war against the Pequots. 700 men, women, and children of the Pequot tribe were gathered for their annual green corn dance on what is now Groton, Connecticut. Dutch and English mercenaries surrounded the camp and proceeded to shoot, stab, butcher and burn alive all 700 people. The next day the Massachusetts Bay Colony held a feast in celebration and the governor declared “a day of thanksgiving.” In the ensuing madness of the Indian extermination, natives were scalped, burned, mutilated and sold into slavery, and a feast was held in celebration every time a successful massacre took place. The killing frenzy got so bad that even the Churches of Manhattan announced a day of “thanksgiving” to celebrate victory over the “heathen savages,” and many celebrated by kicking the severed heads of Pequot people through the streets like soccer balls. “

I know, I know, this is a bit of a downer on Thanksgiving Day, but these are some real insights to the realities of history we didn’t learn about in school and that Thanksgiving isn’t just about the opening the stores at 8:00pm Thursday night to start shopping for your Christmas gifts at a good bargain.  This group of American Indians or Pilgrams, which I am somehow related to in my genes tell a different story, one that is very sad.

So how does all of this real history make me thankful? It truly doesn’t.. though I was raised to have Turkey Dinner on the 4th Thursday of November each year, to be THANKFUL for my family, friends, for the roof over my head, the food in my belly and the good health that we thankfully all have, to take this day and “make the rounds” to family, to drive 2 hours in traffic to eat turkey and watch football…. but most importantly to be thankful to get those two extra days off of work.

I am thankful though, but not just for one day of the year, I’m thankful everyday and every day should be celebrated just as it is on THANKSGIVING.  I’m thankful for my children and grandchildren, my sisters and brother, parents and friends, and I don’t need a turkey to celebrate their health or happiness or well being or the roof over our heads. The history surrounding this day is debauched and America has commercialized this holiday into an advertisement for ‘Black Friday’,  now the stores are open at 8:00pm tonight too… come on down, spend your money.

My point is to to not wait for this one day to say how grateful you are to your loved ones, cook  “Thanksgiving Meal”  EVERYDAY, give thanks to those you love and don’t just wait for the 4th Thursday of November once a year to show it.. Don’t be like that rock inside the prison of self gratification and commercialization, but give thanks always and be humble everyday.  There are atrocities that occur every day in life, many of which happened 400+ years ago during the time  of  “thanksgiving”   I’m not sure I want to celebrate that, but I will celebrate my thanks, not today only , but everyday..

Happy Thanksgiving… I love you, you know who you are, I tell you often and I don’t just show it with a turkey…

 

Andree