I love the gratitude banter that goes on during Thanksgiving week. I think every year having a week or so when we highlight appreciation is an important ritual, especially in a culture that is so driven by consumerism.

Over the years of working with my life coaching clients, I have realized something very simple, yet profound: giving and receiving both require being open.

In order to freely gift another person with your time, energy, money…you must be willing to open your hands and let go.

Likewise, to receive requires you to open your arms and heart to the gift that is being given. Gratitude is an expansive feeling.

Wings under the sun.

Photo by jonathan.hadiprawira, shared via flickr

This brings to mind the beautiful poem by Rumi entitled “Birdwings”

“Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror up to where you’re bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead, here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. if it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as bird wings.”