As we approach Holy Week, I’m thinking about everything I’m grateful for and everyone I’m grateful to.
A woman named Anne I met last week asked me to try out a gratitude exercise with her. “I want you to say a really important prayer every morning when you wake up,” she said, adding, “Say it in the afternoon as well.”
My response: “Uh, ok. What is it?” (I said “Uh” because I was expecting some long-drawn-out prayer I would have to memorize.)
She said, “Please repeat after me: Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
She went on for two minutes saying those two words over and over asking me to repeat after her, soft, loud, fast, slow. I gotta admit, the first few times I was like, ‘This is weird,’ and I laughed a little (she didn’t). So then I just started following her tempo.
I started focusing on the words: “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” I settled in and, in time, her voice gave way and I was saying the two words by myself. With each time I spoke, I settled into the power of those two words and everyone I could say them to.
- To God: Thank you for the gift of my life.
- To my parents, both of whom died not too long ago: Thank you for being there for me and sharing your lives with me.
- To my family: Wow, yes. Thank you to them for holding me in the protective womb of our family.
- Thank you to my friends who check in on me all the time, who include me in their lives and their families.
- To the people I’m lucky enough to work with each day: Thank you to you for helping me so much every day both at the office and at home.
- To strangers I meet on the street who share a kind word when they don’t have to: Thank you.
- To the people who share here on MariaShriver.com and to the people who have collaborated with us on AWomansNation.org and who have accepted the challenge to Wipe Out Alzheimer’s: Thank you for being so generous and so brave. Thank you.
- To my children’s friends: Thank you for sitting with me, sharing with me and helping me to stay young at heart.
- To those on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages who share inspiring messages and thankfully share my zero tolerance for meanness: Thank you.
This little prayer that I learned from Anne has helped ground me and put a smile on my face this week. I try to practice gratitude every day, but I think I was making it more complicated than I needed to.
All I had to do was say “thank you.”
I’ll continue to practice my thankful prayer, and I’ll continue to express my gratitude in big and small ways whenever and wherever I can. Thank you for listening and reading. Happy Holy Week to all of you. I can’t wait for Easter and to be able to eat dessert again!
[Image via Morgan Sessions]