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Andrew Ziola: The power in pausing to be thankful

Andrew Ziola: The power in pausing to be thankful

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I drew the lucky card to have the opportunity to write this Sunday’s Community Advisory Board column right before the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, one of my favorite holidays to celebrate.

Personally, Thanksgiving this year, as it may be for many of you, will be much different than years past. If you asked me nine months ago if the word Zoom would be in the vocabulary in planning for a Thanksgiving meal, I would be asking if that is a new way to cook the turkey or heat up the gravy faster.

Whether you are able to have your traditional family get-together or not, it may be more important this year than ever to take the time to focus on the giving thanks part of Thanksgiving. Aiming the mirror on myself, in the past I haven’t been diligent enough in pausing to give thanks.

Pausing is an interesting and sometimes a difficult thing to master. I think it’s fair to say that pausing is unlikely to be viewed as a superpower today, but perhaps it should. Working from home for over nine months now with countless conference calls, I can tell you that the mute button should be used more than just to silence the sounds of the dog barking or the neighbor mowing the lawn.

Admittedly, easier said than done, taking a deep breath, putting yourself on a virtual or physical mute during a conversation and listening with focus can be invaluable. As the old adage says, we were born with two ears and one mouth.

Using this superpower of the pause to reflect and think of what we are grateful for, big and small, and sharing that with others is especially relevant this time of the year. I don’t think it’s about the counting necessarily, but more so in the savoring and acknowledging.

Pausing to reflect on those gifts of family, faith, talents, abilities and virtues is important for our humility and our journey in being grateful to others for their gifts while being mindful of the challenges of others. Acting on this gratefulness means that maybe right now you should start thinking to whom you could send a thank you card, email or text. Maybe better yet, a phone call during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

I’m thankful for a quirky but wise neighbor, who when I was growing up told me to think of our minds like snow globes. What surrounds us every day “shakes those flakes up in our minds” scatters our thoughts. When we allow or do the things that stop the shaking (that is, pause), the flakes can then fall to the bottom, allowing our minds to settle down and, hopefully, clear up a bit.

“You’ll find it much easier to think and make decisions without those flakes all floating around,” my wise neighbor told me.

As I unpack Christmas decorations and find our small collection of snow globes, I think of that story and lesson every time.

•••

For our family and friends.

For our first responders.

For our protectors.

For our veterans.

For the creatives and innovators.

For our neighbors.

For our public servants.

For those that put others first.

Thank you.


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Andrew Ziola is vice president of investor relations and corporate affairs for ONEOK Inc. and a member of the Tulsa World Community Advisory Board.

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