On Being Mindfully Thankful

During the course of almost three decades in this country, I’ve experienced quite possibly the full spectrum of emotions and states of mind. However, a few days ago, I, like millions in this country, found myself wrapped up in a frenzy of political drama played out on television and social media. For perhaps the first time in my life, I became vocally active in my response against the outcome of a political event. As I saw it, my judgement of the results in conjunction with a seemingly single-party government rule for the foreseeable future didn’t bode well for a number of values I uphold.

Evidently, many residents and citizens in this country are still grappling with the aftershocks that are threatening to rupture already tenuous systems and relationships. Violence only fuels more hatred. Peaceful protests are the privilege of a civilized society and must never be subjugated. Despite the stigma of impracticality and ineffectiveness, preaching and practicing kindness is a sign of bravery. Gandhi didn’t rally a nation overnight and even as he did, violence and apathy was the norm during and afterwards. No pain, no gain, they say. No patience, no longevity, I say.

Jenneffer & Hari Pulapaka
Jenneffer & Hari Pulapaka

We humans could benefit from increased mindfulness when it comes to our collective present circumstances, relationships, and politics. Our ability to be stewards of the resources we inherit is especially telling of the legacy we leave future generations of the planet and all that it supports. Being mindful requires us to genuinely separate ourselves from the intense emotions we feel in moments of sadness and happiness alike. I was not particularly mindful when I went on the offensive after the election results. A few days later, I have sworn to fight for the things I hold dear while doing my best to not get mired in cold analyses or steamy emotions. But rather, to periodically step away from the trenches to view the finish line for whatever race I may be running. Because I know that another race will ensue soon after, and sometimes, even during the present challenge.

To be thankful is not to be complacent. On the contrary, to be thankful is to appreciate the luxury of being mindful now with an opportunity to face another day filled with the joys and challenges of life itself. Killing with kindness may be practically exclusive, but killing with mindfulness is ethereally inclusive.

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