“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”  [John F. Kennedy]

we can often fall into the habit of thinking of the past with a negative light in terms of missed opportunities or  things done to us or perhaps people we might have hurt or disappointed or maybe baggage we carry from broken relationships. This stuff can really weigh us down and also cause a lot of damage to our present and future and so i believe it is really helpful to take a look backwards in a positive light and see if there is anything we can or need to do, to help us live more fully now and beyond.

i think a great next thing to take a look at is the idea of people gratitude – Remembering those people who poured into your life and helped shape you into the person you have become today.

‘Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” [A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh]

if i had to start naming names on this one i would be busy for a very long time, and i would no doubt leave a lot of people out and possibly make someone sad… but there are just so many people who i am grateful to have had in my life for shorter or longer periods of time. people who took chances on me and gave me opportunities, people who defended me, often without me even knowing it, before others who criticised or judged or wanted to take me down in some way… those who took time to really listen to me and hear me, those who wrestled with me [metaphorically, for the most part] who held opposing ideas but who never allowed that to affect the love or friendship between us… those who were completely generous to me in a thousand different ways [and now to me and the beautiful Val]… and all those who are currently pouring money and prayer and encouragement into this part of our journey in Americaland… those who were brave enough to call me on stuff [especially those who managed to do it in such a way that the love still was recognisable] who probably deserve a double portion of gratitude and some form of danger pay for the risk-taking…

to all these people i am grateful. and i try to find opportunities to express that gratitude in a variety of different ways, and know that i can and should do better in this area.

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” [Marcel Proust]

what about you? take a moment to think about some people who have made significant contributions to you life – those who made you feel good, those who comforted you or simply listened or were there when times were tough, and those who risked saying difficult things you really needed to hear and hopefully listened to.

when last did you write someone a note, give someone a call or simply drop them a text to say ‘Thank-you for…’ 

why not take a few minutes now to do that… and then try and work it in regularly into your weekly schedule – start cultivating a rhythm of gratitude

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” [Elizabeth Gilbert]

[To continue to the next part which looks at learning from your past, click here]