I am hooked listening to the Good Life Project podcast by Jonathan Fields. He gets into deep conversations with some really interesting souls, asks the best questions, and just has this overall soothing manner about him. Yesterday he published a riff called the Gratitude Visit. In it, he talks a little bit about the art of cultivating gratitude in life, and how some people keep a gratitude journal, which I’ve heard over and over and we cultivate here at home when we get together as a family. But then he offered one better: the gratitude visit, which I had never heard of. This really got me thinking today.
The gist of it is to look back on your life and choose someone you need to thank but never have. Write a short letter to this individual outlining what they meant to you and why you need to give thanks to them, like 300 words tops. Then the hook: contact this person, tell them you want to visit but don’t say why, and then read the letter aloud to them when you meet face-to-face. He talked about the profound impact it has on both the person on the receiving end as well as the one expressing gratitude, and how this exercise has positive reverberations for some time to come.
Man, was that a compelling challenge to throw out there. I can easily think of three people, actually more, who I owe a debt of gratitude. The kind of people where, when you look back on your life, you realize the impact they had and how you may not have realized it at the time, because they were just a steady presence, or a consistently positive, guiding light, or just someone who accepted you as-is with warm, welcoming arms. These aren’t individual acts of kindness as much as maybe these people are simply good souls who shepherded you along in life.
I’ve had one person on my list to thank for a few years now. I act like I don’t know how to get in touch with her but I do. Jonathan challenged his listeners to consider taking the month of December to act on the Gratitude Visit and I want to do it. Whether I can get a meeting scheduled, I don’t know, but I will make contact.
What about you? Is there anyone in your life you need to thank? Does this sound like a good idea or a scary one or both? Will you do it? If not, what holds you back?
Plus I kinda miss focusing on the good things in life instead of the negative. I need to act on the things that bring me peace and joy, not just keep to myself about it. I don’t know man…just several things hit me today where I am reflecting a lot on life, and this is one thing that feels like a step in the right direction. I don’t want to live life wishing I had told people what a difference they made for me along the way.
What say you?