Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanks Giving

Happy Thanksgiving!

I was thinking about that simple phrase. I saw something I had not seen before.

I have always thought of "giving thanks" as a way of expressing appreciation for something. I have always thought of it primarily as, in a way, an obligation in return for a gift. The other side of the quid pro quo.

I owed it.

Not in a mean-spirited, coerced way or anything, but it was always, on its face, an act of "re-balancing".

This year, I saw it as something else. A gift in its own right.

I've started to see the gift in things a bit more this year. When I wrote about the gifts in my imperfections, for example. In my Spirited Conversations dialog with Sonya Bibilos, I reflected on the natural state of the child being a kind of gift to the mother. And more directly, Littal, one of the women that leads our New Moms support group, referred to "giving birth" during a conversation about her pregnancy, and it struck me: Giving birth is a gift. Not just an obligation or a release or an inevitability. Not "Having a baby (come out)", but "Giving birth (as a gift)".

Which brings me back to Thanks Giving.

Giving thanks is giving a gift. To see it as fulfilling an obligation is to miss an entire dimension of its power.

Think about it. How have you experienced giving thanks? Have you expressed it as a gift? How have you experienced receiving gratitude? Has it moved you?

Gratitude is a sacred, precious, and powerful gift. Give it often.

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