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T - A word of thanks

Written by T

Date : 05/09/2007

I was the only person in my office who didn't reply, "thank you" to my boss when he handed me my paycheck each week. I was working as a reporter for a local county newspaper and the paper's owner would come around every payday with the staff's checks and personally distribute them. He would approach us while we were at our desks, lean down handing our checks to us and with a sincere and warm expression on his face say, "Thank you." I would listen as every single one of my fellow reporters echoed "thank you" back to the big boss. I never did. With an earnest look on my face, I would reply, "You're welcome."

Of course my boss was showing appreciation for our work and my co-workers were thanking him for giving them money—nothing wrong with that but why not practice another aspect of gratitude by just simply accepting thanks without turning around and giving it away again immediately?

Thanksgiving is a time many people reflect on the things for which they are thankful. But to whom can we be thankful for "things" like our health and food? I routinely thank my health care providers and local grocers for their efforts as do most people. And reflecting on the gratitude the pilgrims felt for the Indians they'd soon be killing doesn't make for a peaceful Turkey Day for me.

I'm sure to sincerely thank the cook of my Thanksgiving meal but when someone suggests "saying grace" my mind starts to soar! To whom are we saying grace? God? And if there is a God, why in the world would we ever have to thank him, pray to him or worship him? Suggesting that God needs or requires gratitude, pleas and adoration makes God out to be fallible and ego-driven and unlike my mom's cranberry/peach sauce recipe, that's hard to swallow.

Actually, the whole concept of a day set aside to be grateful has always set my mind in a whirl. Do people really need to be reminded to be thankful to others in their lives who have aided them? Why do we still need times set aside for celebration? Our calendar has them sprinkled throughout the year so no more than a few weeks pass without another holiday scheduled so that we may have reason to celebrate.

Expanding that thought even more outside the gratitude and celebration boxes, I wonder, do we also need to limit our yogic and spiritual practices to official "sessions" to classes or houses of worship? For
those of us who've already extended our practices to our homes, why limit them to single time-constrained sessions?

Additionally, I wonder why so many people feel the need to attend places to find fellowship, knowledge and bliss when these are things that should naturally infuse every moment of our existence. My connectedness to my fellow man is something I know at every moment of every day – not just something I experience on "holy days" or during activities with others.

So, if you see someone who was slouching in line at your local health food store slowly stretch up into Mountain Pose and say, "You're welcome" to the cashier instead of mindlessly echoing "Thank you",
that'd be me practicing what I preach.