Thirty Thank Yous
My two years in solitude were really about two years of shedding. I started, pretty much at ground zero, and invited a continuation of digging and purging in consciousness; the most honest way I knew to honor the already demolished self. The process wasn’t really linear. Not like demolishing a home so a new one could be built on the same site. It was a process of allowing death to happen simultaneously with new life. This is where I choose the metaphor of shedding. Even that, I’m not sure is quite right. Anyhow, as I begin leaving the quiet dark and venture out into the Land of Doing, I am aware I live from a large chunk of intuition and a smaller portion of disciplined practice. I have been redicent with practices as my old self had a tendency of turning the opportunities for fresh possibilities into tyrranical tasks which had to get done. I promise myself with all practices, this new self will try them on and wear them a bit. Iwill remain awake less to the doing aspect and more to the undergirding energy of who I am doing the do.
Reading Patti Digh’s book Creative is a Verb, she mentions she writes thank-you cards daily. In my older version of self I wrote thank you cards every Friday, and I looked forward to it. Something about Patti’s enthusiasm invoked a welling up of desire within me. I have come to trust the “welling up” experience as worth looking at, for me. Daily thank you notes? I recalled a Spiritual Practice class I taught in Seattle almost a decade ago, now. I gave the “bonus assignment” to the participants of writing and mailing three thank-you notes that week. One was to go to someone they knew quite well for which they were grateful. A second was to go to someone they didn’t know, but were pretty certain the note would be received and read. An example of this could be the manager of your neighborhood coffee shop. The third card, was to go to someone who has had a great impact on their life that they are most certain would not receive the letter, yet they write it anyway. The following week the class was abuzz with the delight from this practice. Story after story piled in. And, the most talked about part of the assignment was the generosity of spirit experienced in writing a thank you card knowing it may never be read. This one, it turned out, was written from a deeper more genuine space and without agenda. Curious. I recall one gentleman copied his three letters, keeping them to share with the class. He wrote his “most likely not read” letter to Bill Gates thanking him for creating the computer programs he is responsible for and all that it took for him to be a big enough space for this globally impactful creation. He went on to share how his life became richer because of Bill’s life/work. The room was silent. Something magical transpired.
In Oprah’s signing-off episode she reminded us we are responsible for our own energy. I want to conduct, for myself, an energy experiment. I commit to writing one thank-you note a day for the month of June. That’s thirty thank-yous. And I’m going to create my own rules and guidelines around how I do this. My rules: 1. They are to be hand written and mailed or spoken in person, 2. If it starts feeling like a task instead of like a joy, I will sit with me and breath inviting a shift. I will be aware I am exchanging not only words, but energy, 3. If I feel myself being stingy, I will put the pen down until I can come from a more generous space. That’s what I made up. Feel invited to play along and make up your own rules, should you desire. Then, in July, let’s reconvene on the blog and share what we learned.