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Stone Soup

November 27, 2008
Happy Turkey day!
Historically, the original Thanksgiving was a celebration of of the harvest. A, “thank God’ we can still grow food”, celebration of Autumn. The celebration faded as time went on, until Abraham Lincoln recommended it as a national holiday in 1863, and congress actually passed it as a holiday in 1941. I love Thanksgiving, and I love the celebration of family and community.
In my grade school every year we would celebrate Thanksgiving by spending an entire day making soup as a school in honor of the Grimm fairy tale “Stone Soup“. The story is about a stranger who travels into a town with nothing but the clothes on his back. The stranger asks for a cast iron pot filled with water and begins to boil it. As he’s boiling it he grabs a nearby stone and places it into the pot, claiming he’s making stone soup. Intrigued, the locals begin to gather around as he’s boiling the stone. The traveler offers one of the local bakers to taste the soup, and the baker notices it’s a bit bland, so he offers to add some salt to the soup. He then lets a local farmer try some. Finding it too salty the farmer offers to add some vegetables. This goes on and on until everyone in the village has contributed to the pot, transforming it into a delicious soup. Our school celebrated in similar fashion. Grades were broken up and everyone would have a job. Some kids cut carrots, some cut celery, others made the soup. There were rumors as to whether an actual stone was used, but I don’t think there ever was. Thanksgiving is pretty similar to this story. It’s a celebration of gratitude to what our friends and family bring to our pot, even if all they can offer is a stone.
In my yoga class yesterday my instructor dedicated our practice to the concept of gratitude in the spirit of Thanksgiving. Gratitude not only for our friends and family, but everything that life gives us, even our most humbling moments. During Savasna she shared a wonderful quote by the author Melody Beattie which I thought summed up gratitude beautifully:
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…
It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
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