A few years ago, I was prompted by a coach to write 20 thank you notes to people who had influenced or helped me in life and in business. Handwritten notes accounted for the majority of thank yous, but some people were only found via email.

Today, I can think of 20 other people who have helped me, but then I mostly emailed or wrote notes to authors of books that I loved and that had created change of some kind in me and for me.

The response was enlightening.

Most – as in about 70% – did not acknowledge the thank you. But really, is there an acknowledgement after a thank you? Maybe just a “you are welcome”?

One author did write a note back. It was thrilling because though I rarely read a book twice, Leighton Ford’s book, The Attentive Life, which had been given to me by a friend, I had read three times. Because I tend to do deep spiritual work with people, I found the book very grounding, and it enhanced my ability to listen to my clients.

He quotes many of my favorite authors such as Henri Nouwen, Rainer Maria Rilke, T.S. Elliot, Mary Morrison and more. But one of my favorite quotes of his is…

“I would like my life to be like one of those beautifully designed and intricate Celtic cords, where the strands weave intricately in and about each other and all are bound together. Yet I realize that the place of beginning — where the cord starts — is a mystery, as is the end: how will there be a final joining and completion?”

Saying thank you forced me (in a good way) to recognize that I did indeed have a lot to be thankful for.

I didn’t know it then, but soon, I would face some difficult life changing circumstances, and this ability to be thankful, would help to change my perspective and response to one much better than if I had not read his book or thanked him for it.

Another person who wrote back was Jill Bolte Taylor, the author of My Stroke of Insight. Her book had been given to me by my mother-in-law, whom I also thanked, and I quickly read the book in one day. Her most poignant words for which I thanked her were:

“…I choose to observe my environment through the non-judgmental eyes of my right mind, allowing me to retain my inner joy and remain detached from emotionally charged circuitry…thanks to my stroke, I have learned that I can own my power and stop thinking about events that have occurred in the past by consciously realigning myself with the present”.

I see a fair amount of blogs and posts about being thankful, and why not?

Why not be reminded to be thankful instead of complaining or instead of apologizing like blogger Mary Hart points out:

There are many days when I simply forget to be thankful, so I’m writing this for myself and for you to remind us that we have something to be thankful for no matter our situation.

Last, but not least, here is a HuffPost article about the ancient Talumid way of finding 100 things to be grateful for. I found it hard to get past 50! Here is an excerpt:

“If we really know how to look for them, we can find an awful lot of things to be thankful for — even those things that may drive us nuts at the time. Perhaps that is why the Talmud (Menahot 43b) commands us to say one hundred blessings, one hundred things to be thankful for, every day. Now, that may sound like a lot of blessings to say, but if the assignment was, “come up with one hundred things to complain about every day,” my guess is that we could all do that in about three and a half minutes.”


  • I am thankful for the mess to clean after a party, because it means that I have been surrounded by friends.
  • I am thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means I have enough to eat.
  • I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing, because it means I have a home.
  • I am thankful for the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means I am capable of walking.
  • I am thankful for my huge heating bill, because it means I am warm.
  • I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing, because it means I have clothes to wear.
  • Thank you for reading this, and I hope it helps your day, your hour and your moment in some way.

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