Few phrases are more powerful, more freeing, more transformative than those two simple words – Thank You. Try using these words with someone you are having a conflict with. Whether you speak it to yourself or to the person, it will have a powerful effect.
I was recently in a conflict with a dear friend. One of the speakers from the Living in the Fire of Change conference, the wonderful Mary Tidlun of the Tidlun Foundation, gave me a Mala – a set of prayer beads – and explained that they were “gratitude beads”, hand made and given to her as a gesture of thanks from a group of women in Kathmandu who had been recipients of her activist work. She in turn passed them on to me, with the suggestion – “do a round of thank-you’s on these beads for all your friend has given you, send thanks for the gifts you are receiving in this conflict, for what it is teaching your soul.”
And so I did. The effect was tremendously powerful. It helped me move from a place of contraction, to a place of expansion. From a place of the armoured heart, to a place of appreciation and deep compassion.
Today I find myself constantly doing rounds of “thank you’s” on the beads, for different people and situations, as a regular part of my contemplative practice. It awakens my true heart, and frees me from isolation, from fear, from closing down. Being grateful can be tough – you don’t get to hide behind the victim role. But who really wants to be a victim anyways? Just your ego, which relishes the job. Surely we can do better than that!
Making up my own prayer of thanks has been a powerful tool for me. It changes to meet the needs of the day, but there is always something or someone to thank. Especially those who make life – shall we say – interesting.
You could try it yourself: find a set of prayer beads, and using your thumb and fingers, count through each bead, pausing to say “thank you” as they move through your fingers. Direct your gratitude to whoever or whatever feels right at the moment.
Mala’s – or prayer beads – are available in any spiritual store. Or you can order them on-line at places like The Dharma Shop.
Here is a gratitude prayer by Native Elder Seqouyah Trueblood, a new friend and companion on the path, which I filmed recently at the Living in the Fire of Change Conference. You can listen to this as a meditation, as part of a morning or evening ritual, or at any time. Take these words to heart, and carry them with you. You could use his words as an inspiration to create your own gratitude prayer. Any sentence that begins with the words “Thank-you” has the power to become a sacred prayer.
LIVING IN THE FIRE OF CHANGE
CONFERENCE ON SACRED ACTIVISM AND SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION
MORE GRATITUDE RESOURCES:
GRATITUDE AS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: