In a divided, chaotic world, the most important practice is to know yourself, your whole self,

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Gratitude and grace cannot really be measured; nor can they be willed. Each requires that we be open and vulnerable.
Grace is a kind of wonder that can fall upon us unexpectedly. Gratitude is like a desert flower that spontaneously blossoms from within us.

Micheal Meade, on Gratitude and Grace.

Thanksgiving invites us to give thanks.  

Thanksgiving invites us to give thanks. While gratitude is good and healthy to acknowledge and feel, it also can become a should, as if any of us need more of those, that we SHOULD feel gratitude.

I wonder if this year, it might be at least as relevant to feel love and connection — to your world, your community, your family. To yourself. In a divided, chaotic world, the most important practice is to come to know yourself, your whole self, to truly become comfortable in your own skin. (That’s where BodyMind Spirit Healthcare sessions are helpful and those sessions are effective at a distance, over Zoom.)

Thanksgiving 2020.

It's been 400 years


It surprised me when I read it’s 400 years since that “first” generously shared Thanksgiving meal.

Out of my 4 grandparents, three have ancestors that fought in the American Revolution. GREATs with a propensity to fight for what they believed to be true, for their vision of homeland, of America. They immigrated in response to things happening in their lives at home — in France, Holland, England. And though they fled violence and persecution they seem to have brought those with them.  

Many of my ancestors fought in wars, more recently both grandfathers in WWI, my father in WWII.

My Dad. WWII.

Over the generations, our ancestors did what they needed to survive and occasionally thrive. We are here because of them.  And sometimes, in spite of them. 

In the late 1800s, my great-grandmother hauled a cart across Nebraska prairie after leaving an immigrant train that stopped in Sydney. I have imagined how Alice felt, hauling that cart toward an uncertain and for her, a largely unwanted, future as homesteaders. She and my great-grandfather Otis first lived in a cave. then a soddie where bed bugs and fleas flourished under the floorboards and with a roof that leaked so badly my grandfather said his father, Otis, once held an umbrella for several hours to shelter Alice from the rain as she lay sick in bed.

Alice became the center, the stability for her family when Otis could or would not. I have a few grandmothers and greats who taught school. She did.

Alice’s first posting was in a school my grandfather Robert described as a “sod one-room with a dirt floor. There were homemade benches and a bench table. The heat was by wood . . . supplemented by cow chips that we kids picked up and brought in at recess and noon intermission.”

Robert, my maternal grandfather, researched family genealogy, as did my paternal grandmother. My maternal grandmother’s mother, Nella, completed the paperwork to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Family legacy mattered to these people. I dig through their records, the ones that have come to me. And though I don’t yet fully embrace or celebrate all my ancestral lines, they are that, my ancestry. Over the generations, these people did what they needed to survive and occasionally thrive. I am here because of them.
My Dad's mother, Daisy, sits with her grandparents.
Daisy adored photo journaling.  

If my daughter and I were to share this year’s Thanksgiving meal with our ancestors,
it would be an awkward gathering, at best.

If I were to share this year’s Thanksgiving meal with my ancestors, it would be an awkward gathering, at best. And yet in a way, they do sit with me. Always. Over the years,  I have focused quite a bit on healing back through my mother-line, my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother. I know their names back 5 generations exactly because my great grandmother did the research to join DAR.

My daughter Katy Rose is an enrolled member of the Crow Nation. Some of her ancestors are indigenous to this place. It’s intriguing to imagine what the diverse and divergent aspects of her heritage have to say to each other, and probably distressing. They will also sit at our table this holiday, a table my grandfather Robert collected and refinished, then passed to my mother, his daughter Marion Jean. When she died, the table came to me even though I didn’t really have space for it in my little log house. But this year, in this home, we have space and will sit there to share our meal.
The table my grandfather refinished.
 My mother's lace table cloth always graced the table on special occasions.

Our ancestors, human and non-human living beings,
have something to teach us about love, connection and continuance.

I invite you to consider that your ancestors were people trying to make their way. Most didn’t live even as long or as well as we have, They were people making lives for themselves, often consciously creating heritage because they felt disconnected from their roots, had a desire to find those. They had a desire to experience continuance and connection in their lives, in their communities.

To feel love

Our ancestors, human and non-human living beings, have something to teach us about love, connection and continuance, and are trying to teach us/reach us.

We each live at the apex of 7 generations, looking both back in time and forward, toward distant descendants.  The healing we do sends a wave that affects them all.

This holiday season, make time to slow down, quiet down, and listen. And yes, of course, give thanks when you are inspired to do so. A friend told me that last year she created a gratitude tree and added to it throughout the season as she was inspired to do so. Not as a should. Not a gratitude a day. But gratitude when it welled up and asked to be expressed and remembered.

 Centering practices invite us to have a “baseline” connection to our bodies, one we can revisit, a connection that may be particularly important over the holiday season with all its emotional push-pulls.

Centering into the generations before you.
And, ahead.  

Here’s a centering practice I just learned (I attended Bioneers over a recent weekend).

Centering practices invite us to have a “baseline” connection to our bodies, one we can revisit, a connection that may be particuarly important over the holiday season with all it’s emotional push-pulls. Try this if Thanksgiving finds you in a complicated social situation, or missing family and friends who can no longer share a meal with you.


Bring attention to your aliveness; go from thinking to feeling. Be sensation-alive and aware. What temperature do you feel? Are you feeling relaxed or pressured, pressurized? Notice places where you feel movement. You are an alive, dynamic organism. 

Move your focus to below your belly button. Place your hand there, then send your attention and breath. That place is your center of gravity when you stand though you don’t have to stand for this practice. Feel free to sit down, lie down.  

Center into your body; into gravity.  Feel into your feet; your spine. Explore the length of your body, top to bottom. Center into dignity, your own dignity and the dignity of all life. Make like a fern frond and feel yourself uncurl and lengthen toward the sun, into the earth.

Next, explore your physical width, left to right. Imagine you can and do widen across your collar bone; waist; through your legs. 

So many things about stress or depression, trauma, invite us to both shrink into ourselves or pop out of ourselves.  Invite yourself back home then expand your boundaries. Widen to the left, to the right. Let yourself take up space. This is your relational space: It's where and how you can physically hold other people out and yourself in. In fact, putting your attention in your side bodies, strengthening those, calls up good solid boundaries to support and strengthen you, boundaries others will notice without their needing to be spoken.

Now explore back to front, the depth of you. 

What’s behind you is your ancestors, millennia of the evolution of life and accumulated life experience. Their patterns of survival are lodged into your tissues.  Rest into your back. Then notice your Internal landscape. Your heart & guts. Your insides to your front side. Face into what is and firm your intentions for the future. 

We each stand at the apex of 7 generations behind us and 7 generations in front. 

As you experiment with this practice, as you explore your center, are you clearer on who you are and what you want? What’s important to you? Let that come into your body and mind. Let it help shape you, freeing up energy that has been trapped by resistance, overwhelm, grief.  Who doesn’t need more healthy energy as autumn quiets into winter?

Thanks to Staci Haines, co-founder of generative somatics,
for sharing this practice during her presentation at Bioneers.

Jenna Caplette, LMT
Healing Arts + Wisdom Arts
Sessions given at a distance via Zoom, phone, or email. 

So grateful for you all and for the option of offering sessions via Zoom (it works!)

I hope to return to in-office sessions for vaccinated repeat clients in March. The first three sessions for new clients sessions are on Zoom 

  1. Schedule a 20-minute  call to chat about what's challenging your health. The best way to do that is to text: 406-920-2691. Let me know three times you have available and I will either confirm one of those or make an alternate suggestion. You may also schedule through Schedulicity.  (BTW,  BodyTalk IS effective at a distance.  Read how and why here). 
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