It’s different from Thanksgiving, or giving thanks. It’s thanks AND giving.

Yes, thanks and giving. The time is ripe. Gratitude is making a comeback. Really. With all that’s going on around us, the pandemic, wildfires, civil unrest, hurricanes, and political turmoil, for what, you might ask, can we have gratitude? Plenty. And then, instead of just expressing gratitude through words, how can we put gratitude into action? First and foremost: before you can step out with an attitude of gratitude you have to take care of yourself. In the words of White Eagle, an indigenous Hopi woman:

“This moment humanity is going through can now be seen as a portal and as a hole. The decision to fall into the hole or go through the portal is up to you.” 

She cautions that you will fall into the hole if you spend your day listening to the news, with little energy, nervous all the time, with doom and gloom on your mind. But if you take the time to look at yourself, take care of yourself and others, “you will cross the  portal.”  For some, embracing the spiritual in a time of crisis might be helpful. For others, it may be meditation, or enjoying the outdoors, or yoga that is needed to be well and strong. Perhaps it’s food that’s good for you that will bring you to health and contentment. Our pets can bring us a sense of calm. Art, music, dance, or a good book can feed the soul. And of course, our family and friends who bring love and laughter to our lives can help us “go through the portal.”

Have you seen someone lately do a good deed? Have you watched a group of children play, or have you gone outside on a clear night to spend a few minutes gazing at the moon and stars? Beauty and goodness surrounds us. There are plenty of simple things to do, see, and experience that help us take care of ourselves, plenty of simple things for which we can be so very grateful. But, as Gertrude Stein once said, “Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.”

The forces of nature have created a perfect storm of victims of the pandemic, hurricanes, and wildfires.

Job loss, hunger, and homelessness are all around us, along with a multitude of other issues that come with tragedy and catastrophe. Benicia is not immune, but the goodness and generosity of people will sustain our local community and beyond. Studies have shown that giving time, money, goods, or other resources to a cause brings happiness to the giver. We enrich our own lives and perpetuate the lives of others through the joy of giving. With the reminder from Gertrude Stein that “silent gratitude” is not very useful, the challenge is to put gratitude into useful action, by giving what you can to those who need help. Donations of service, goods, and money are all welcome. The time is ripe for thanks AND giving.

Perhaps you have your own favorite charity, but if not, some suggestions of where to give are listed below.

Family Resource Center Mission Solano

Community Action Council Sustainable Solano

St. Vincent de Paul American Red Cross

Meals on Wheels FEMA

Solano Food Bank Go Fund Me-Wildfire Relief Fund