Happy Thanksgiving, beloved Pinkies. Today, I celebrate the holiday with the whole Rankin crew in Columbus, Ohio, at my baby brother’s house. The Rankin family- my mother, brother, sister, cousin, aunt, uncle and all their spouses and chidren- has not been gathered in its entirety since I lost Dad nearly four years ago. And before that, when we lost my young cousin Corry. Weddings, births, and other happy occasions failed to pull us away from our daily lives. We have shared way too many endings and not nearly enough beginnings. This time, we commit to gathering out of the shear joy of being alive and being together, a process that includes looking back and honoring the joy we still experience because of those we lost.
Holidays can be hard times. I can’t help getting teary when I remember how Dad would sit on his lounge chair, sniffing the air on Thanksgiving, cooing, “Mmmm….that smells GOOD.” Dad would be fiddling with his latest gadget while the women peeled potatoes and simmered soup. My cousin Corry would bring out the cello he crafted by hand to serenade us with a one-man symphony. I remember with fondness the memory of Nana Kay, showing me the solid gold globe she wore around her neck, with jewels marking the places she and Papa Vic served as missionaries. I can still see Dad, Papa Vic, Nana Kay, and Dad’s brother Larry sitting in a circle, playing four part harmony on recorders. Thanksgivings would start with a poem my grandfather wrote, often about us grandkids. Then my grandfather and uncle, both Methodist ministers, would bless our food before we circled the table, each of us expressing our gratitude for turkey, Trudy salad, and the paella Nana Kay only made for special occasions. After feasting, we would walk around the lake, splintering off so that the kids could chase ducks and geese, while the grown-ups talked about the meaning of life.
Now, these are only memories, and we still mourn all we have lost. We no longer celebrate in Florida, where I grew up. Nobody makes paella and the cello concertos have been replaced by duets my sister and her son Zay play on the piano. Instead of being surrounded by the treasures my grandparents, aunt, and uncle collected on their world travels, we are surrounded by the new art my brother just made, the Lego masterpieces my nephew creates with my brother, and the photographs my sister-in-law shoots. We drink herbal tea from a tiny Japanese pot and sip slowly, while catching up on all that we’ve missed. Very little has stayed the same, and with this realization comes a bit of sadness. Sometimes I long for certainty, for the assurances that at least some detail of my life will remain steadfast, serving as an anchor to ground the ship of my life. I long for repetition, guarantees, and promises that there will be no more change, no more disruption, no more painful endings. I know that the only thing certain is life is change and that any sense of certainty is merely an illusion. I am coming to terms with the fact that we can’t control our lives, and that we must simply surrender them to God, trusting that change- even painful change- is merely a part of the path we’re meant to travel to become the people we’re supposed to become.
When I realize that change is inevitable, I realize, thinking about it now, that I can hang my hat on one family truth, one anchor that roots me in place and serves as the backdrop for everything else that happens in my life. It is- very simply- love. I can guarantee that, no matter how much I screw up or how much of an absentee family member I may be, every single person at this family table will welcome me with open arms- no matter what. I know every person here knows that this love is reciprocated, that I would anything for anyone here. Together, we weave this tapestry of love like a woven basket that creates the vessel where I can always go to recharge. From within this vessel of love and safety, I receive love, tend my wounds, gather strength, and open my heart to offer love to my family, my friends, my patients, and all you Pinkies.
Although you may not be part of the Rankin family, this basket of love is here for anyone who needs it. Interwoven in the fibers of this basket are healers and those in need of healing. I envision this basket as being so big that one person lying in it would be dwarfed by the enormity of it. It’s like a world-sized bowl of love, where anyone can climb in the center to cry and curl into a fetal position. You can also do a jig, spin in circles, and throw your arms up to heaven. When you do so, I see this bright beam of light shining down from the Universe, filling you with light and love from the Heavens. It’s almost as if, by gathering together in the name of love, we create a satellite that helps us channel the gifts from the Universe, aiming them like a laser beam at whoever needs to receive. Because we all weave our own love, gifts, and strength into this vessel, where it is blessed, this basket of love is big enough for all of us.
Today, on this Thanksgiving day, I invite you to weave your way into the basket or climb into the center of it if you wish. Just like my family holds me, safe and unchanging, we will hold you. If you’re wanting to give back, help us hold someone else in need. Open your heart as big as you possibly can and let love flow. If you’re home with your family, offer the same to them. Imagine a beam of light radiating out from your heart, connecting directly to beams of light shining out of their hearts. Put aside grievances, let go of expectations, and meet each other heart to heart, from a place of gratitude. If you find it hard to do this, pray for guidance, pray for love.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we invited you Pinkies to go around the circle with us at Owning Pink Central to help us express our gratitude. We at Owning Pink didn’t need to do much soul-searching this year to come up with things for which we are grateful. It’s right here – it’s all of you. This year, we found each other. Within the space of just a few months, a group of friends has amassed who offer one another unconditional love, deep connection, and profound support. We’ve found a home in which we can be ourselves, and to which we can bring everything we have – our fears, our pain, our imperfections, and our joy. We know we’ll be greeted at the door with love. We know someone will have words of wisdom for us. We know that we will be held and heard.
And the coolest part? YOU'VE done this Pinkies! You've brought this community to vibrant, pulsing life. This Thanksgiving we celebrate the community we have built together, the golden vessel of love we have co-created. As we gather around the Pink Thanksgiving table, we’ve invited each of you to offer a blessing before we dig into our dreams and the rest of our mojo-filled lives.
Here’s what you Pinkies had to say.
Dearest Universe, thank you for blessing my life with so many enlightened souls. Thank you for providing me with clarity during times of extreme fog and true faith in midst of chaos. - Megan
I am thankful for every gift, blessing or piece of "bad luck" that has come my way all because it has gotten me to where I am today, comfortable in my own skin. - Donna
I am thankful for my spiritual connection to the Creator! - Jennifer
I am grateful that my eyes have finally opened to the beauty and miracles in my life, and the understanding that there’s no need to look any further than the here and now. - Joy
I'm grateful for inspiration... and the energy to follow it – Suzanne
Being able to offer Watsu to my community, state and world! My life is blessed as I "go to my office": a warm saline pool where I float people and receive as much as I give. -Watsunami Keo
i am grateful for this beautiful planet, and our chance to make a better job of looking after it. – jane
I am brimming with gratitude for the bravery, strength and love pinkies show each other and the world as they refuse to shrink from the truths living within them, sharing them unabashedly in conversations that form a virtual circle of compassion ringing the world. – Dana
I'm thankful for the love, wisdom, and talents of friends and family; for new ways of learning and connecting; and for the opportunities that each day brings. – Cathy
I am most grateful for the way in which The Universe has stepped into my life in such a profound way, opened my eyes to see what IS instead of what isn't, and offered me opportunities to share my experiences with the world. It has been the most humbling, fulfilling, exciting, and sometimes scare journey of my life ... but most of all it has brought me more JOY than I could have ever imagined possible. God can dream dreams far bigger than we could ever have dreamt for ourselves. The biggest lesson I have learned from it all is to never to under estimate the power we each have within us if we choose to acknowledge it, accept it, and use it to make the world a better place. – Kim
I am grateful for the love that surrounds me in my family, friends, and my clients who I am so honored to work with – I am grateful for the desire to make a difference that so many of us feel and our willingness to get moving and do what is ours to do. – Karen
I am most grateful for the healing I have experience in my lifetime, my children and family, and my clients. - Rio
As you can see, Pinkies, the breadth of our lives, our experiences, and our gratitudes is vast. But we are all tied together … one Pinkie after the next, hand-in-hand and heart-in-heart, forming a strong, safe, bridge of dreams.
We bow in thanks to JABA and the Universe for blessing us with each bright, shining soul in this community, each healer, each vulnerable, vibrant goddess, each beautiful, generous, Pink spark of a person.
Enjoy the day, nurture yourself, own your wholeness, and remember that we love you.
Blessings and love,
Lissa & Joy
When you comment on an Owning Pink blog post, we invite you to be authentic and loving, to say what you feel, to hold sacred space so others feel heard, and to refrain from using hurtful or offensive language. Differing opinions are welcomed, but if you cannot express yourself in a respectful, caring manner, your comments will be deleted by the Owning Pink staff.