I am sixty-five years old and I can’t remember a positive family Thanksgiving.

To fit in, I came up with a variety of Thanksgiving stories that reflected a positive experience but I remember Thanksgiving as a time of extreme family yelling and severe tension. Now I connect that memory with an even older memory of Native Americans conquered by pilgrims and pioneers, which I was told was a heroic adventure.

At an early age, I entered into a Symptom Bearer program, and am now daring to step out from this historical legacy. I listen to the Native Americans’ ceremonial dance and realize I too must dance my sacred emergence.

When I identify with feeling alone and shunned by family and community, I pause to call on the American indigenous people who have consistently passed on stories of connectedness. A connectedness that also embraces the “white ways” of egocentric action. I am reminded that these ways have always been part of life, and we all can take on these ways in our individual way. And, we will be asked to be vulnerable in our endeavors.

I am grateful to my family. I have learned about who I am by taking on my family legacy, even when my efforts have not been acknowledged.