Learn to say “thank you,” it might be the only thing you can give.

This weekend I had the opportunity to partake in a Wim Hof Method workshop. It was intense. If you aren’t familiar with “The Ice-Man” and his method check out his website. Just the welcoming picture will give you an idea of what this man is all about.

The workshop itself contained everything I expected: breathing exercises, explanations of what is happening anatomically, personal anecdotes, an ice bath, and a slew of like-minded people all on their own path to learn, grow, expand, or gain experience of some flavor. What I was not expecting was meeting a human so delightful in nature, that it would completely change the way I look at everyone else.

Shereen Yusuff brought an energy to the room that is quite indescribable, but as I am using the written word as my medium, I will try to describe the indescribable.

The single thing that stood out the most was Shereen’s dancing. Now, as you navigate your way through life and the world, you’ll undoubtedly come across people dancing, monologuing, acting out, or simply making a spectacle of themselves for the sake of attention. This is the very first time I’ve run across someone dancing so purely, that they almost seemed invisible. She wasn’t dancing for anyone else, she wasn’t dancing for attention, she wasn’t trying to impress anyone, or catch anyone’s eye. She simply was. She existed at that moment purely to dance. It was so uncontaminated of any perversion and full of delight that I couldn’t help but watch her twirl in a small circle with her eyes closed, hair waving from side to side as people meandered around her. This wasn’t the only time she took a moment to dance, but it was the most impactful for me.

Our workshop went on and many things came and went, but the image of Shereen dancing stayed with me. After about 24 hours of reflection, I realized I needed to express my thank you to her for everything she did in those short, but life-changing 7 hours. This reminded me of the importance of giving someone a sincere and heartfelt “thank you.” Many times, an author will write a short “acknowledgments” excerpt or an even shorter “thank you” to key players in the making of their book. Meanwhile, you have people like Marcus Aurelius who took a whole chapter to say thank you and explain what he had learned from each person of significance in his life. Then, you have people like me.

Whenever I need to keep in mind the importance of gratitude and thanking people, I turn to these salient quotations that keep things in perspective for me.

It’s in keeping with Nature to show our friends affection and to celebrate their advancement, as if it were our very own. For if we don’t do this, virtue, which is strengthened only by exercising our perceptions, will no longer endure in us.

SenecaMoral Letters to Lucilius

This always reminds of something I heard from Kevin Smith while also reminding me of my childhood. Kevin Smith has implored people to surround themselves with “why not” people instead of “why” people. When you have a crazy idea and want to chase a dream, you want to be around those people that say “why not?! How can I help?” As opposed to making your company a group of people that will say “why? Nobody wants to see that. Who are you? Why do you think anyone would want to see that from you?”

As a child and young adult, I tended to surround myself with people who would welcome your accomplishments with a reminder that you were somehow still inferior to those around you. Whether it be physically in stature or strength, intelligence, or looks. I don’t remember a time where any single one of us celebrated each other to simply lift one of our own up. Everyone’s job was to make sure everyone else was kept down. So, remember to celebrate and show gratitude for your friend’s achievements as if you had succeeded yourself. Why not?

Pass through this brief patch of time in harmony with nature, and come to your final resting place gracefully, just as a ripened olive might drop, praising the earth that nourished it and grateful to the tree that gave it growth.

Marcus AureliusMeditations

Whether it be during life, an up, a down, or on our death bed, while we draw breath we have something to be thankful for. We just need to have the proper perspective.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

William Arthur Ward

As cliché as it sounds, we may not have another chance to express our gratitude. Always keep in mind “memento mori.” We could leave this earth at any instant, so now is as good a time as any to express our gratitude of others.

While there is always more that can be done aside from saying “thank you,” it’s better to at least give that than nothing at all. Let people know how grateful you are. You’d be surprised what an impact a sincere showing of gratitude will make on someone’s day or life. With that being said, Suda Prem, thank you for sharing yourself with me, and with the world.

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