Giving Thanks is Never Canceled

Written by:

Pranika Sinha

One of the best quotes of 2020 that I have seen is “This is not the year you get everything you want. This is the year to appreciate everything you have.” This is a year that has been pulling and pushing at us like a tug of war, and continues to.

But no matter the circumstances, it’s still possible to find blessings and be grateful – if we take time to look. As I ventured outside this morning, I looked up to a sky peppered with hues of pink, purple, and orange – a breathtaking sunrise if only for a few minutes before the clouds floated in. Giving thanks is never canceled, even if many plans have been this year.

Gratitude is a healing and supportive emotion that helps us find perspective, remember the bigger picture, and remind us to appreciate all those we love.

The experience of this pandemic has made the invisible appear before us. What’s visible now is the everyday social interactions we took for granted – a handshake, a hug, or even leaning into conversations with friends over meals. With our everyday experiences being overhauled, we have a new appreciation for technology, reconnecting with neighbors, the opportunity to see our immediate families more, and recognize that despite differences – we are all human and we can all grow forward, together.

It’s been hard not to notice what’s broken this year – but, if we re-examine what feels broken, perhaps we can flip the scenario.

In traditional Japanese art, there is a technique called “kintsugi.” Broken objects are repaired using lacquer with gold dust, and the result is something new and beautiful. The flaw is seen as a unique piece of the object’s history, which adds to its beauty. The cracks are repaired and now shine. This unique method celebrates an artifact’s unique history by emphasizing the beauty of its breaks. Kintsugi makes the repaired piece even more beautiful than the original and revitalizes it with a new look.

As I slow down this week, Thanksgiving feels right on time this year. I adore planning the menu, cooking, seeing family and friends, eating and making memories. While this year will differ greatly and have a new look, I am so appreciative for much – basic means, good health, my family and friends, extra time with my girls, and excitement to plan a backyard meal and some time virtually with extended family.

I also feel that amidst compounding traumas and cracks across the world, it’s been amazing to witness heroic medical professionals save lives, essential workers show up every day to support people, educators and school leaders tirelessly innovate and adapt, and the strength of humanity. Of course, I have mentioned much of the big stuff here, but little moments deserve appreciation and recognition as well – a comforting meal, a laugh with a loved one, a few minutes of quiet, or even some time for self-care!

As Aesop said, “gratitude turns what we have into enough.” There is so much beauty in the world despite existing cracks, and even in challenging hours, many reasons to feel grateful. I hope you feel the healing powers of gratitude this week, experience wonderful memories that may have a new look but still revitalize you, and I hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving.

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