Three new words that Changed my Gratitude practice...

Takk fyrir sithast...We don't have all the sounds of the Icelandic language in the English alphabet so this is the closest approximation. But these three words are now part of my personal gratitude project. Recently, my friend, who is Icelandic, said them to me just like that (sounded quite more melodic in person than here on the blog but go ahead and try them out...) My husband and I had his family and another family over for a multi-course, luxuriously long summer dinner on the deck. Good food, good wine, deep connection, really nothing better. And the next time I saw him, he said these words to me. He explained the meaning but he was quick to say there really is no adequate translation in English.

He said, "It means, Thank you for last time." There was something magical about the words, something that made me need to write them down. I said to him that even though I could not possibly understand the words other than guessing Takk is Icelandic for Thank, I got the sense that it meant something close to a greeting that embedded within it, was an honoring of the last time we spent together. He said this was correct and closer to the translation. And that other than some other Scandinavian languages, he had not heard a similar phrase in any language. 

This may seem like a simple linguistic difference but I found it to be much more. Think about it. In just three small words, he had shown his gratitude for our last time together while sweetly meeting me in this moment. I could feel the sentiment and my heart instantly opened to that moment of connection. 

What happened in that moment was a simple thread of gratitude from his heart to mine that honored the past while opening to the present. We have nothing like that in English but I now am integrating the closest I can come. Now when I see someone with whom I have deep appreciation for because of some way we connected in the past, I try to convey that, either through words or intention. Depends on the moment but could be something like "My heart feels so full seeing you. It still holds the joy of the last time we were together." 

Now, that may be too heavy at times, for some, even for me, to convey in the moment that a usual "Hi, how are you?" would suffice. Right? But let's just say that you greet the person in whatever formal or casual way you wish but you feel the intention of something closer to that Icelandic greeting? The person you greet will feel it, I promise. And even if they don't, you will. Trust me, I have been getting the benefit of that.

See, a regular, consistent gratitude practice that brings sustained joy is one that is integrated into even the most seemingly mundane of moments. It could be a "Hey, what's up?" moment turned into a "I have such deep gratitude for our connection" moment just by the way you approach it. I promise, just try it.


Gratitude is not just something we practice in moments of meditation or crisis.

It is something we integrate into all moments possible so that we turn the ordinary into the extraordinary, so that we see the magic in the everyday.

That's when big, big magic starts and that's when your heart starts changing.

Gratitude starts to be the secret sauce that changes everything.

I feel so much gratitude of my own for my friend who gave me a gift. By taking the chance of saying something to me I might not understand, he gave me a new way of seeing how that moment we greet could take on new heights of wonder.

Thank you to my friend, hopefully he is reading this. Thank you for reading. Now, go transform your day into something that transforms your heart.

Live well,

Tanmeet SethiComment