This week there is an interesting convergence of two holidays in Canada. While one is religious and one is not, I’m finding the timing quite meaningful.
Everywhere in Canada (except in the Atlantic provinces) Monday is Thanksgiving, and in the Hebrew calendar, Yom Kippur begins Tuesday night at sundown. Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement – is the holiest day in the Hebrew calendar and is a day of introspection and repentance.
While it can be relatively easy to give thanks, recognizing the ways and the people who made it possible for us to have the gifts we enjoy is often not; we may simply not think of it, or it may be uncomfortable. Similarly, reflecting on how we have hurt or wronged someone may not be a popular practice; sometimes because we don’t realize we have done it, often because we don’t want to face it.
The two days next to each other are causing me to think about the often stark contrast in the gifts that we have, and the ways many of our privileges exist because of someone else’s hard work or oppression (the land we live on being one example, the clothing we wear being another possibility).
I’m not Jewish, but I imagine that Yom Kippur can be a heavy day, as well as a day of liberation. Taking time to think about our actions over the past year and how they have hurt or negatively impacted people gives us the opportunity to reflect on the impact of our actions. And then to acknowledge it to ourselves and the person(s) affected. This can possibly lead to dialogue, understanding, forgiveness, stronger relationships and healing – and seeing more: More of the person, more of the situation, more of ourselves.
I can’t help but wonder what would happen if the Canadian government approached Indigenous Peoples, Black people, and people of colour in this way. Introspection. Awareness. Repentance. Dialogue. Relationship building. And then action; moving forward differently, with inclusion and human dignity in mind.
Imagine the country (the world) that would create?
See more. Copyright 2016 Annemarie Shrouder Speaker, Facilitator, and Consultant on issues of Diversity & Inclusion www.annemarieshrouder.com
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