Table Altar for Thanks: The Tree of Life
Artist and “space creator” Gregg Nordin was commissioned for our Almanac this month to provide directions on making a “Thanksgiving altar”!
Thankfulness is a tricky one. Often we wait for moments of joy in order to have something to be thankful for. When things work in our favor, or when we get something we have been longing for. Some promotion, some purchase. We experience a momentary spike in joy and we are grateful. But all to soon the feeling can fade.
The truth is, gratitude and the practice of thanksgiving is what produces joy. Not the other way around. Thankfulness acts like new glasses that allow us to see the joy that is currently in our lives. Especially gratitude in the small things, the details; “Golden light of the morning sun,” “The feel of new socks.” “Warm Cookies”, “Harmony of birdsong outside my window.’
Thanksgiving slows us down and enables us to see. And when we can see… we no longer try to hustle for what we already have.
The purpose of this interactive centerpiece is to provide a single gathering place for all the amazing things that bring our life to life. This exercise will not only remind us of the best parts of our existence but also allow us to share them with those around us.
- Colored Paper (preferably heavier weight like card stock)
- Sticks / Branches
- Box or vase for base (fill with rocks or gravel for stability)
- Small paper clips or clothes pins
(You may want to assemble this interactive centerpiece early on in the month so you can daily add to it in preparation for Thanksgiving.)
The first part of assembly will require a short walk amongst some trees. Search for some fell branches that will work well with your table size and bring them home. Next you will need a base for the branches to rest in. Fill with rocks or sand to provide stability. Next take the your colored paper and with scissors cut out pieces shaped like leaves. Cut enough that everyone participating can use at least 2-3 per day.
Every day take a moment or two to pause and think of the things you are grateful for. Everything from the big things like family and health. To the small things like the pools of melted butter on hot pancakes. Take those things and write them on a leaf. Give the leaf a small fold down the middle and then attach it to the tree.
Watch over the coming days as the centerpiece of dead branches comes to life. You may just notice a similar change in yourself as you become aware of all the things that fill you with joy. Gratitude brings things to life.
Jedi Knights of old have crossed light sabers in the background of that altar of thanks… evil was vanquished in the gratitude of children… music resonating with the theme of serenity; capturing a time that was more than the moment