Taw Tu’s and Gratitudes

Castle Rock #2 by Janis Dehler

As the week of preparation progressed toward our annual Thanksgiving gathering and feast, two women came to me within my mind and heart.

First, my sister, Mary Beth, born with Down Syndrome, autism, and then later Alzheimer’s. Mary did not verbally speak as a way of communicating but had her own adaptation of a few words in ASL and maybe 3-5 words or short phrases that she would vocalize. One of those heard was “taw tu”, thank you. Hearing her voice, in and of itself, brought a feeling of deep gratitude. Shortly after her death in 2020, she and I met in a dream, and she spoke to me quite fluently. I felt enraptured with the sound of her voice and enthralled with a more in-depth sister relationshp.

Next, my mother-in-law, Winnie Rose. Until her death Winnie could be moved to tears with the memories of deprivation, poverty, aloneness, concern for survival in cold and dark, all that she felt in the early years of marriage and the birthing of babes to a total of 9 surviving and 4 miscarriages. In these years, farming became a total loss, her husband had to drive a couple of hours away for work during a deep cold snow winter which left her to live alone with the young babes during the week. Despite this early pain that remained within her, she held to her gratitude in her 97 years of life. Her list grew. Her heart opened and expanded. I can still hear her reminding us to remember our gratitude’s and her birthday cards and holiday notes listing all she felt grateful for in her life including each of us.

Both women in their own way were heart medicine for both the giver and the receiver.

My “thank you” opens my heart to you
and invites you to open your heart to me.
Gratitude grows gratitude.

“Living in a state of gratitude is the gateway to grace.”

Arianna Huffington

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

Maya Angelou

“Gratitude opens the door to the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universe. You open the door through gratitude.”

Deepak Chopra

Ongoing Resource List: Reading for the Heart and Mind

  • Unconditional Love and Forgiveness by Edith R. Stauffer, Ph.D.
  • Keep Going: The Art of Perseverance by Joseph M. Marshall III
  • Art & Fear by David Bayless & Ted Orland
  • Quantum-Touch by Richard Gordon
  • The Van Gogh Blues: The Creative Persons Path Through Depression by Eric Maisel, PhD
  • The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
  • Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris
  • Forever Ours: Real Stories of Immortality and Living by Janis Amatuzio
  • Personal Power Through Awareness by Sanaya Roman
  • Violence & Compassion by His Holiness the Dahlai Lama
  • Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Devotions by Mary Oliver
  • To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue
  • Meditations From the Mat by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison
  • The House of Belonging: poems by David Whyte
  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
  • Soul an Archaeology Edited by Phil Cousineau
  • A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield
  • Listening Point by Sigurd Olson
  • I Sit Listening to the Wind by Judith Duerk
  • Dancing Moons by Nancy Wood
  • The Soul of Rumi, Translations by Coleman Barks
  • Keep Going by Joseph M. Marshall III
  • Arriving at your own Door by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
  • The Hidden Secrets of Water by Paolo Consigli
  • Conquest of Mind by Eknath Easwaran
  • Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay
  • Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene Brown
  • Practicing Peace in Times of War by Pema Chodron
  • When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
  • On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
  • Unattended Sorrow by Stephen Levine
  • Joy in Loving, Mother Theresa
  • The Joy of Living by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
  • Let Your LIfe Speak by Parker Palmer
  • Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • The Essence of the Upanishads by Eknath Easwaran
  • Welcoming the Unwelcome by Pema Chodron
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through The Ways Of Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson
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