By Stew Bittman, D.C.
(I think that's the first time I have repeated a title but it applies.)
I've always loved Thanksgiving. I am filled with memories of Thanksgivings past that set me aglow with nostalgia and warm fuzzies. Every year, or so it seems, I'd run upstairs into my cousin's bedroom and watch my favorite movie, "The March of the Wooden Soldiers," and ritually march back and forth along with them. The music still brings a tear.
Later years found me still running up to the same bedroom (by this time I had discovered my cousin's chocolate stash), now to watch something more in tune with my developing hormones- football. I can vividly remember Clint Longley, a quarterback no one ever heard of, before or since, coming in after an injury to the starting quarterback (Roger Staubach) and throwing about a 100 yard TD pass in the closing seconds to win the game.
Then of course there was the meal, in all its tryptophan and starch-ridden glory, to which I generally arrived already half stuffed from my cousin's chocolate. In those days of my chubbiness (or so it was then politely called), it was heaven. And best of all, though my family never went in for conscious ceremony, and would invariably end up overeating, over-drinking, belching, farting, and snoring in the true American tradition, I could always detect a feeling, a warmth, a connection (before the belching and farting stage, of course), that was never present at any other family functions. It felt so good to bask in the safe and nurturing energy of family.
On Thanksgiving the beauty and the meaning of family entered into a much deeper realm for all of us. As this Thanksgiving approaches, I am blessed to report that I now experience that feeling more than once a year. That feeling of safety and connected-ness, of being part of something joyous and meaningful, of unconditional and unlimited support and love, is now a companion that never leaves me completely, even when I forget its presence. I rest in the knowing that the world is my home, and that I am at home in the world. And though I rarely get together with my family anymore on Thanksgiving, that feeling still connects us and binds us in tendrils of love.
Over the years, as I have explored my Self, my Innate, and have allowed my heart to open, my family has grown, and now includes all of you. You are an integral part of my feeling of belonging. A day never passes without at least a momentary awareness of our connection. Usually it is much more. When I am speaking, writing, adjusting, communing with nature, meditating, or whatever, you are often with me. I know that on some level, every particle of matter in me knows exactly what every particle of matter in you is doing, and vice versa. And more importantly, I know that our Innates are constantly dancing together, and always will be.
Knowing these things keeps me keeping' on, and I am immensely grateful. Of the innumerable gifts I have allowed to manifest in my life because of chiropractic, my chiropractic family is somewhere near the very top of the list. Some of you have been there for every step on my journey, and knew me better at times than I knew myself. I have rubbed elbows and tushies while adjusting with some of you in Panama or Costa Rica, sharing the miracle of chiropractic in its purest form. Others of you I have met at seminars and workshops, and together we have been inspired and empowered and have evolved and grown.
Some of you I have yet to meet in the flesh, and we are still tightly and inextricably connected. We are all interwoven in this magnificent tapestry called chiropractic. We have all walked a warrior's road together, and the Universe urges us to remain true to each other. And to our mission. On Thanksgiving, as I endeavor to buck the true American tradition, or at least to not explode, please know that I will also be sending you all love, and that I will be thanking God for the privilege of walking with you all on this glorious path.