An Allegiance to Gratitude for Southwestern: Inspired by the Onondaga Thanksgiving Address
Today we are gathered to celebrate our graduation from Southwestern college. We look upon the virtual faces around us and we see that the cycle of life continues. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living beings, so now let us bring our minds and hearts together as we give thanks to each other as people and counselors. Now our minds are one.
We give thanks to the campus with its flowing water and fish ponds, its courtyards, stone seating, and shaded arbors, its gardens, and walking paths, its hammocks, and giant sand tray, its murals, and ceremonial fires. Can we agree that our campus nurtured our lives at Southwestern and send greetings and thanks to the grounds keepers and grounds?
Now we turn to the classrooms that sheltered our learning, and to Canyon de Chelly and all the places our learning continued, to the experientials, and role plays, and art we thank you. And to our lounge where we rested, and to our spirituality room with its eclectic vibe of acceptance, we thank you for the meditations and naps alike. To the tech offices and experts we give a most hearty thank you, as we zoom this way and that. And to the gallery we thank you for expanding us even further through sharing our art and hearts.
We gather our minds to give greetings and thanks to the enlightened teachers who have come to help us through this birthing process. When we forget how-to live-in harmony with our studies, they reminded us of the way forward toward graduation and higher consciousness. With one mind we send greetings and thanks to ALL our caring teachers. Now our minds are one.
We give thanks to the library for all the books full of knowledge, and for the massage chair, and various decks of mindfulness cards, and for the collection of light figure DVD’s, and for all the computers and printers. And for the librarians, we give thanks for their support with research and APA wisdom and their patience, their great patience. To the library and the librarians, we give greetings and thanks, and now our minds are one.
With one mind we honor the space of the admin, and the administrators, and all those that make southwestern tick. From the front office, to the finance modular, to the president’s room we give greetings and thanks to all of those who effort to make Southwestern college a school and a home away from home. We respect and love the admin, and now our minds are one.
And now we turn our greetings and thanks to our Mother Earth and her sister the New Earth Institute for they give us everything that we need for life and CEU’s. We send our greetings and thanks to their other sister Tierra Nueva Counseling Center and give thanks to the place we saw our first clients, to the bit of sky that watches over us through the sky light, to the cubicles that shelter our note writing, and to the Harry Potter room- we give thanks. We give thanks for all the experiences we had within these walls with clients whose names we will not soon forget. We give thanks and greetings to the women who manage it and guide us there. We give thanks for wherever we finished our internships as Southwestern expanded inside us. Can we agree that we are thankful we moved across the perilous street and out into the wider world? We send our greetings and thanks, our love and respect, to those who ushered us in practical and spiritual ways into graduation. Now our minds are one.
We put our minds together as one and give greetings and thanks to each other our friends and colleagues on the journey- may we stay in touch or at least be held fondly in memory for all we have contributed to each other. To all our fellow students we send our joyful greetings and thanks.
We give our greetings and thanks to the sun, moon, and stars, for their higher vision of our purpose. We are thankful to have you by our sides when we travel by day and night. We thank you for guiding us toward our true north. With our minds gathered as one we give greetings and thanks to the planets.
We now turn our thoughts to the creator. Great spirit, God of a thousand names, we send greetings and thanks for all the gifts of healing, creativity, and wellness. Everything we need to be great counselors is here within us. We gather our minds together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the great mystery. Now our minds are one.
We have now arrived at a time and place where we end our journey as counseling students. Of all the places and beings named here, it is not our intention to leave anyone out. If someplace or someone was forgotten, we leave it to you to send greetings and thanks in your own way. And now we take our steps (and leaps) of faith into our new professions- together. And now our minds are one.
Blessings and gratitude.
Bio for Awbrey Willett:
Awbrey Willett is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Developmental Specialist who has been working in the wellness field in Santa Fe and Northern NM for over a decade. She is currently in private practice as a psychotherapist and can be reached at email@example.com or by phone or text 407-459-0939. Awbrey uses an attachment-based lens as a counselor believing that relationships are the foundation of wellness. She has a long history of working with families, parents, and children as a birth doula, preschool teacher, and program manager for teen mothers. She uses a dual therapy approach offering solutions focused developmentally appropriate strategies and interventions and mindfully exploring relationships and life’s existential questions. She trained with the Sky Center and received her MA in Counseling from Southwestern College. She especially enjoys supporting families, couples, and individuals in integrating wellness strategies into their daily routines, and helping them further their self-care, self-love, and spiritual development.