beginning with thanks

The weekend after September 11, I went to a writers conference where Carolyn See, the keynote speaker, suggested the practice of writing “charming notes,” one handwritten thank you note a day. Refocussing on who and what I was thankful for at a time like that seemed wise and very appealing. Collect beautiful notecards, she told us, and if you can’t think of anyone to thank for something that happened recently, go into your past and thank people you haven’t had contact with in years.  I was ready.

For the next year I diligently wrote a note a day. I wrote to my family, my neighbors, my teachers, my friends. I dug up the addresses of middle school friends, camp counsellors and therapists. I wrote to the city council and my congresswoman. After a year, I slowed to writing notes in a more standard way, for dinner parties, gifts, and once in a while, for a memory or shift in my thinking.

Years passed like that. I still kept a collection of cards, but I let the daily practice go.

Then, a few months ago, I was moved to begin again.

Now I begin almost every day at my desk handwriting a note.  Before getting up, I lie in bed thinking of who I will write to. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it takes some meditation to allow the recipient to surface in my consciousness. Buying notecards is pure pleasure.

So, it seems appropriate to begin this new blog with thanks. To Tom and to all the people who make it possible for me to begin a new project in this almost unbearably beautiful place, surrounded by people who love me and whom I love: thank you!

photo 4

California flowers blooming regardless of the drought

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16 thoughts on “beginning with thanks

  1. Thank YOU Eve. For a beautiful post and the reminder of the pleasure of collecting note cards. I love this idea of sending thank you’s as a regular practice. I’m going to begin today.

  2. Oh Eve, it’s so comforting to hear your voice among the seeds of wisdom you share. Thank-You – for starting this new project. I have no doubt I will look forward to your weekly posts (ut-oh.. the pressure is on for those weekly posts!) but I mostly plan to retire to my computer after a tough day with a cup of tea for your fine prose and much needed time to slow down and reflect on the gifts of life – your words among them.

    • Thanks, Laura. I haven’t felt like writing for quite a while, so it feels good to be getting started again. One post a week seems reasonable, don’t you think? Miss seeing you!

  3. Lovely idea, Eve. I also look forward to reading your posts…and I may begin the Thank You Note practice myself…honestly such a refreshing idea! So…Thank You for spreading this new/old form of gratitude! Hugs and memories XO!

  4. This is wonderful and having received a note from you, I felt a a rush of warmth and joy.
    There is never a time that we meet, in whatever setting, that I have not felt love from you.
    You are compassion in one beautiful being.

    Love, Bobbe

  5. I like this idea…Snail mail has always been my favorite way too communicate…still get a
    warm feeling when I open the mail box and I have mail! Not bills… A note or letter….
    Thanks for starting this blog…I look forward to reading this each week…and thanks for the suggestion,,,, I wrote a note this morning!

    • I treasure the notes I receive, too. It’s such an ancient art, note-writing. I love the beauty of the cards and uniqueness of each person’s handwriting. I have a friend who always writes her notes on a separate piece of special paper so the note card can be reused, a good idea that I keep meaning to use. I’m so glad you’ve already begun the practice, Susan!

  6. So lovely! I am currently deciding what Daily Practice I’ll do and writing thank you notes has been on the top of my list! In this day and age of electronic communication about everything, I think it’s so delightful to find an actual envelope with a hand-written note in the mailbox. Thank you, Eve, for your inspiration and for your deep generosity in all that you do. I feel grateful to know you!

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