As 2021 has rolled around there is a lot to be grateful for: good health, a roof over one's head, food on the table, friends and family who remain supportive through happy and harsh times.... the list goes on, and many of us will no doubt have things that are both common to all, and individual to each.
Gratitude is an amazing thing: it is a phenomenon that truly goes both ways - it makes people being thanked feel appreciated and motivated, and makes the person expressing the thanks feel content. Individuals give thanks in myriad ways - an extra tip for the hairstylist; a box of candy for the postman; entities such as corporations give thanks to their employees through bonuses, and animals also know how to communicate their appreciation. Saying thank you is one of the easiest things one can do, if you know who to say it to. But the hardest thing is to know how to give thanks for the serendipity that brings us to where we are.
It is peculiar when one comes to think of how many small things must have aligned to bring one to a particular place. The accident of birth, the education that shapes your perspectives, your outlook on life, the people who influence you and the passion that you apply in your choices. I often wonder (and marvel) about how many different things had to happen in a perfect domino sequence, for me to develop a soap business, and to use it as a platform for advocacy on biodiversity and rainforest conservation.
When it seems impossible to identify all the parts of the past that must have inter-connected, I can say unequivocally that the best way I can thank the stars, is to pay it forward. Paying it forward requires intentionality - and sometimes also requires you to venture beyond a comfort zone. For my part I am paying it forward by advocating as loudly and as consistently as possible for an eco-conscious planet. The ramifications of human action on the environment are not only detrimental to future generations, but also to animals who had no choice in the matter. The ethics of this are truly profound, as animals must either move, adapt or disappear in response to people. And our very existence is intertwined with that of every species that walks the earth, so paying it forward is essential for self-preservation.
I believe in the ultimate goodness of people, and the ability of a society to course-correct. Let's pay it forward together, not by taking our position as a dominant species for granted, but to ensure its balance for a beautiful world. Beyond the harvest table, amid the laughter and pie, keeping our choices intentional and forward-facing can make this a truly impactful Thanksgiving.