Giving Thanks – Begin with Gratitude

by | Nov 24, 2023

It’s the seasonIt’s the season of holidays, days on our calendar marked for celebration tethered to history, tradition, family rituals that leak with questions and confusion of truth.

Let me say it differently. I struggle saying happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving, a traditional holiday celebrated for centuries in the United States mired in nasty history, makes my stomach churn and eyes sting. The day also holds six decades of sweet memories with family and friends joyfully connecting and breaking bread. Polarities holding each second of existence. I breathe deeply when I write those words.

So I step back and wonder what includes these polarities and everyone, everything, in between?


I am giving thanks by generating gratitude within me.

I am not saying this is what you should do,

or that giving thanks needs to be expressed by everyone,

or that celebrating a grand feast on Thanksgiving is wrong.

I’m choosing to write this blog – riffing from my heart – because my other blog wasn’t catching fire and gratitude is tugging my heart. Generating gratitude moves in me, through me, heart centered and horizontal through my arms and out my palms. My eyes sting, my tender heart moves to a slow rhythm with each deep breath. Gratitude feels peaceful, gentle, silent right now.

May whatever shows up be of service, healing, appealing, generous, received, and in the very least, amusing.

I give thanks for… my body

  • breath filling my lungs
  • saliva saturating my mouth and tongue
  • fingers typing on a keyboard
  • eyes seeing the space around me
  • eyes seeing the space within me
  • eyes seeing
  • and the big bunion on my right foot

I give thanks for… nature

  • ocean waves moving in the rhythm of now and teaching me the essence of flowing power
  • wispy white clouds scattered in the sky teaching me this too shall pass
  • earth’s grand varied texture in the form of mountains, lakes, forests, hills, desert, teaching me beauty and acceptance
  • a blade of grass reliably planted and resilient teaching me that even being chopped down, we still grow
  • our trees, the woodwide web and mycelium, teaching me the essence and imperative of connection
  • and the poison ivy on the borders of the yard commanding respect and teaching me how we cohabitate for my short time on earth

I give thanks for… companions

  • furry friends who have accompanied me throughout my life, Spunky, Smooshface, Amber, Dutchess, Queenie, Angel, Marina, Cashew, Grete, Pearl, and currently, Ekajati
  • friends, not furry but full of heart, soul, play, adventure, who anchor rivers of life and meaning in this human journey
  • people being themselves and meeting my eyes and smiling in everyday places – the mail person, the check out clerk, the attendant behind every counter
  • teachers in all forms and too many to name
  • my parts revealing themselves, waking up, trusting, opening, and coming home
  • and folks with POVs I do not share, who ignite reactions felt in my veins (gratitude is knocking on the door; I pause to open it.)

I give thanks for… creativity, courage, curiosity

  • paint, crayons, pens, pencils, markers, brushes, paper, and every form of craft material and especially my children’s leftover art supplies from their youth
  • ikebana practice, play and precision of flower art, communication and co- creation as our elements align
  • leaping again and again into the unknown, crossing yet another threshold, trusting the next step I don’t want to take
  • playing in the dirt which sometimes looks like gardening with vegetables, herbs, fairies, succulents, flowers, rocks, sticks and stones
  • and leaves falling, splattered messy paint, spilled beverages, spots that won’t come out

I give thanks for… all flavors of love

  • accepting my parents
  • forgiving my siblings
  • honoring my ancestors
  • admiring my children
  • cherishing my beloved
  • and expanding my ways of giving and receiving love in all forms

I give thanks to me.

I give thanks to you.

May gratitude fill all of us and the hard hearts in our world aching for kindness, care, and dignity.