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It was my birthday recently, my 39th, and so it naturally follows that my next (February 2018) will be my 40th. But I didn’t get here alone…

I want to use the approach to this milestone as an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate those who have been there for me, whether throughout the journey, or for shorter but formative periods – those who have helped shape who I am, opened up learning and opportunities – all those for whom I feel a deep sense of Gratitude.

And so on my birthday this year I made a personal promise: By the time I turn 40 I will have written 39 individual letters of Gratitude, to 39 separate individuals, in which I will share specific examples of the positive impact they have had on me and offer thanks. I’ve made a list of names, and each letter will be hand written and hand delivered and I will keep no copies, nor share their contents here. I would, however, like to share aspects of the journey with you – because it will be a journey…

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The funny thing about Gratitude, in my experience, is that it has this magical ability to make me feel at once tiny and humble, and huge and expansive, all at the same time! Tiny and humble because it helps me to see and acknowledge the truth of my being nothing on my own. Everyone and everything around me is essential to my existence and experience. Any achievement, any success which bears my name should by rights list countless others, and by the same token…

 

Flip the coin…

 

I too am integral to the existence of everyone and everything around me. I too affirm and shape their experience. That’s where Gratitude makes me feel expansive, for it is a gift exchange. In thanking others for what they have gifted me, I can’t escape feeling and receiving a sense of what I too have gifted them.

 

I created a new Gratitude Journal from one of my birthday cards and the recycled envelopes of the others. Writing a daily Gratitude Journal is a practice I had fallen out of, but which I have now reinstated into my daily rhythms.

 

That’s the way opening works, and Gratitude is a tool for opening. And this is where the journey gets tricky, because I know that if I want to seek the joy of giving, I must be prepared for life to ask me to receive too. Gift exchange from an open heart has a tendency to run wildly and wonderfully out of control…

 

For other posts I’ve written on this topic, follow the links below

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/gratitude-gallery/

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/gathering-gratitude/

 

 

 

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