Gratitude doesn’t need a season or reason.
Yet when we express our thanks, we become both the giver and receiver. It’s powerful to hear that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. And when you honor someone else (here’s the two fold part) you inadvertently honor yourself.
There’s a story that Joseph Campbell shared about myth in which a culture he was studying believed only a god can worship a god. I think gratitude works in a very similar way. When you express thanks, you acknowledge a shared goodness.
When you honor, you are honored.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of celebration for so many reasons – the time to reflect with family, friends, and loved ones, the thoughtfulness of meal times, and saying grace. When my turn comes around the dinner table to give thanks, I often choke up and push through in realization that life is good and I am a child of the divine.
How do you express that great big wow of another person’s mark in your life? If you’re thinking well it wasn’t that big of a deal, it’s just courtesy, that’s what friends do — take a moment to imagine what your day / week / life would be like without those moments. For me, the shadow side of generosity is not greed, stinginess or being frugal. It’s assuming and expecting. When you take the exchange for granted, you miss out on the extra ordinary. When you are grateful, you are generous and thank you becomes the only reasonable response.
Saying thank you embodies creativity, authenticity, and surrender. Why did the action, thought, gesture, invitation make you better? No matter how insignificant it may have appeared, you noticed. That’s the point. Their small act of kindness wasn’t lost on you. And guess what happens? They are seen and you are blessed.
A year ago I began writing thank you letters as a way to articulate my thoughts and serve as a reminder. I want to share this letter I wrote to my friend Jagatjoti, a man whom I owe a great amount of thanks to, when I took a big leap in my business and realized how little I knew. I learned more through his presence than through his direction. He became a teacher because I became a student and through that relationship so much knowledge was shared.
I hope this letter inspires you to say thank you in a new way to someone in your life be it through a letter, a dance, a song, a video, a card, or a moment unrehearsed where you open and say hey, thank you for showing up for me. You made me better.
Photo by Carli Jean