“Wonderful work, dear lady!” the email from a past client’s family read. “Words cannot describe how grateful we are for the support you have given our family. Never doubt the importance of what you do. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
In my files at home, I keep a folder called “READ THIS”, that I fill with notes of appreciation or good cheer from family, friends, clients, and colleagues. When I’m having a tough day, in the moments when I need a pick-me-up, I go to the file and let the loving words of others wash over me and fill me with remembering and peace.
Every thank you, note of gratitude, and expression of love find their way into repurpose and absolutely mean the world. Knowing how important these tokens are to me, I am inspired to do the same when I am moved by someone else, by something they have said, offered, or done.
When is the last time you sent a note of thanks?
Establishing a gratitude practice – simply writing down one or two things that you’re thankful for each day – has long been shown to improve a person’s outlook and feelings of well-being.
If we can take it a step further and express our gratitude to those who foster it in us, we not only positively impact the recipient, but ourselves, as well. It could be a phone call or voicemail, a handwritten note (my personal favorite), an email, text, a Bitmoji, or if you’re especially creative, skywriting! Seriously though, while there are endless ways to share your gratitude, what is required is the desire to generously give time to the task, the curiosity to lean a little into vulnerability as you explore not only what you’re grateful for but why, and the willingness to follow through.
These practices are especially important when we’re keeping the end in mind. When we live closely to the fact of our impermanence, and the transitory nature of our time together, it gives practicing gratitude and expressing appreciation greater meaning, and a deeper context. We don’t need to be on our deathbed to begin telling those we love the myriad ways they touch our lives, big and small. It may even be easier to find words for how we cherish and value those we share our day-to-day with without the added stress that a diagnosis and illness puts on all of our resources, especially our energy and time.
In this moment, who is one person you’re grateful for? What are you grateful for – a thoughtful gesture, a job well done, for help or support? Why are you thankful – because they’ve eased your day, because you felt seen and heard, or because they are just an outstanding human being who inspires you?
What would it mean to let them know how you feel, right now? For them, and for you?
I could say, What are you waiting for? Time is short! And it would be true. But perhaps an even better reason would be because you’re alive and you can. And that by choosing to do so, you are enriching your relationships, your heart, and your living, now.
That’s what matters most, in the end.
as originally published for End in Mind on 08/06/19