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.


My dear friend. I could find no other way of celebrating my birthday this year than to honor those who have come into my life as if by mission. You have made an indelible mark upon me, my brother friend. I have had the good fortune to be the recipient of so many bits of grace from you. And to think, I met you on a dare. Years ago your book inspired me to call. I left a rambling message seeking guidance in material things. How can I be successful? Or design an immaculate space with little money? Or become known in the world for my gifts? I am an artist and a healer. The world of business is foreign to me. I feared what I did not know and ill equipped for what was to come.

Yet you my brother friend took me in without hesitation. You loved me before you knew me. This was my first lesson. I quickly learned I asked the wrong questions. You taught me to go beyond the answer and seek the truth. How will I be? For the spiritual path insists we no longer divide our practice from our work. If the goal is realization then it is so with all things. From where I stand, it seems that this quest for being is what directs your conversations and meetings and ventures each day. You proved to me that the world is indeed malleable. If we feel small, the world is thus. If we feel infinite, the world is thus. The world is but an expression of our daily practice.

In honor of you my friend, I would like to share a story of a time when we were together. It has taken me several years to digest it, so let me attempt it now. We were in India. It was the first night of sleeping and you came to rise me. A clear knock at the door woke me at once. Your hair was loose and wild. The night sky held a dream of the sun. We were to prepare for our first visit to the Guru at the Golden Temple. I sat upright in bed still in a daze. I’m awake I said. And then you did something unusual. You sat by my side and held me with a fierceness that stopped my mind. In that embrace I could not hide. I wept instantly, furiously. You held me in silence. We hardly knew one another. But there was something so present about that moment. I believe I spent much of that trip reflecting on why that moment moved me so. For that genuine embrace was startling and seemed to release a deep sorrow within that was waiting for just the right moment to come forth.

Even now years later, the memory still brings tears of joy and sadness of love and loss. It is likely that you do not recall that first morning. And it makes no difference, really. For I have experienced few instances that capture the clarity of that interaction and will always remind me of what is possible when we least expect it.

My dearest Jagatjoti, thank you for being.

All my love,


Photo by Carli Jean

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