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The Thanksgiving Address

Mac Hall The Thanksgiving AddressMy former boss, friend, and teacher, Mac Hall, reminded me recently about the power and impact of our thoughts on water. He drew my attention back to the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto and his water experiments.  Dr. Emoto’s work shows that human consciousness, particularly words and thoughts, has the ability to change the molecular structure of water. He has documented the change in hundreds of before and after images of water crystals that have been altered by nothing more than words and thoughts. Quite a contrary view, as you might imagine, Emoto contends that contaminated water can be cleared through positive human energy, and clear water can be altered on a molecular level by negative human energy.   Emoto’s body of work shows that microscopic photography of frozen water crystals from peaceful and calming places (meditation gardens, remote mountain lakes) reveal beautiful, eye-pleasing molecular structures while water from harsh or violent places (prisons, mental health facilities, contaminated streams) reveal ugly, harsh structures. His work also shows that the latter can be altered by positive human consciousness.   Mac Hall is a Cherokee man and a leader recognized by people like Jane Goodall and institutions like the United States Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for his work and approach to empowering Native American youth to thrive and grow into positive, emotional healthy adults. The program he has developed over the past 50 years, Project Venture, has been implemented in communities across the U.S., Canada, and even in places like Hungary. Mac uses a strengths-based approach in which youth participate in service learning, outdoor adventure, cultural exploration, mentoring, and connection to nature. In the 3 years I have had the honor of working closely with Mac and in the 7 years I’ve considered him a friend, I’ve been able to witness firsthand his commitment to remaining a positive presence in the world through all life’s challenges and opportunities.   Mac is a quiet and humble man and so his poignant Thanksgiving post moved me deeply. Thank you Mac. It reads:  

“We all read from the Thanksgiving Address, adapted by Jake Swamp from the traditional Mohawk giving of thanks that precedes all important meetings, ceremonies, etc. It acknowledges and gives thanks for all life, from the Creator, to the animals, birds, fish, the water, the enlightened teachers, etc. We all prayed for the water protectors, who are trying to bring attention to the threat to our waters. Water is said to be the most powerful healing element to the Cherokee people. My family and I have participated in the "water treatment" many times over the years. It always helps to bring me back to what's really important in my life. There is a book called Hidden Messages in Water, by Masaru Emoto, a Japanese scientist who has studied water for many years. He looks at water that has been prayed over, or subjected to positive music, chants, thoughts, etc. The water is then frozen and examined under an electron microscope. Water that has been exposed to the positive energy shows incredible crystal structures, similar to snowflakes. Water that has been exposed to violence or negativity in the form of music, words, or thoughts, has no crystal structure and looks like an oil spill. My mentor, Crosslin Smith, told me many years ago about the power of positive energy and how we have to be positive in our work with young people at all times. When I read the book by Dr. Emoto, I realized that science was validating what the traditional elder had been saying. Our bodies are 80-90% water, so the same principal applies to our children. We need to pray for the water of the world and do what we can to safeguard it.”

  Mac’s words stuck with me as I struggle to know how to best have a positive impact in all of the overwhelming and troubling concerns in our world today. I considered my ongoing work helping people to understand the impact of triggers and to tap into inner peace and calm when fears, anxiety, competition, and old trauma rise up and cause them to react in ways they wish they had not. In my own journey, I strive to be awake and impactful in the movement for positive change, community, and peace while staying positive and effective. The balance between peaceful and angry can be tricky. Mac’s words helped me see a path through water.   As I considered Dr. Emoto’s work and Mac’s words about the undeniable ability for positive energy and words to physically alter the appearance of water molecules from ugly to beautiful, from angry to peaceful, I realized that this is again more evidence of the power of intention and a grace-filled and grateful mind.   In my time with Mac I learned to not discard unused water down the drain, but instead to return it to the earth directly whenever possible—with gratitude. I understand that the water within me comes from and is eliminated back into the greater water system that is connected throughout our earth. Water is the connection point between me and a person on the other side of the globe who may not physically look much like me, sound much like me, or live their day-to-day much like me, but it is highly possible that through water, I am in contact with this person or their children or their children’s children.   I’ve made a commitment to revisit my appreciation and conscious gratitude for water and to do my best to follow Mac’s lead on a positive orientation to the world and to life’s choices and struggles. I do know that I want the 80% of my body chemistry, the water, to be floating around looking more like images of peace and harmony than the harsh images when water is subjected to negativity and violence. Don’t you?   Over the next few days, consider the water in your life a bit differently and more intentionally. Hold a thought of gratitude as you pour a glass of water or fill a pan for cooking. Take just a split second to say “thank you” as you release the extra water down the drain. Whenever possible, release water directly onto the earth.    Should you feel overwhelmed, out of control, or hopeless, pause by the side of a river, lake, beach, or even a puddle and express gratitude for where that water will travel and the role it will serve for all who connect with it. And when you feel gratitude and abundance, pause and give thanks to water. As you drift off to sleep or wake in the morning, take just a second and imagine the water in your cells moving through your body like a dance of snowflakes. Gently express appreciation. And when you watch or read the news of conflict, struggle, and determination to protect our resources, send healing thoughts and gratitude to both the humans and to the water.   Sometimes, as Mac has taught me over and over, the way to be as powerful and impactful as possible is through our thoughts. Simply holding the space to shift from anger to positivity, to look for the beautiful things in even the darkest scenario, is the most powerful and sustaining thing we can do—for ourselves, for our Earth, and for all sentient beings.      As the Thanksgiving Address teaches us, Thanksgiving is not a day out of a year. Thanksgiving is now.

Mac Hall is the founder and Executive Director of the National Indian Youth Leadership Project based out of Albuquerque, NM.  NIYLP is the creator of the internationally recognized program “Project Venture,” which uses a combination of service learning, culture and tradition, outdoor adventure, and a connection with nature to empower youth to traverse adolescence positively while gaining skills and a foundation for healthy adulthood. Recognized by the US Office of Juvenile Justice (SAMHSA) as an exemplary practice, Project Venture has been implemented in communities worldwide.   NIYLP is a nonprofit organization. To be a part of this work, make your donation here: http://www.niylp.org/donate/