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FEATURE - November 2015 -  Santa Fe 

Heartfelt Gratitude — Even When Letting Go

By JoAnne Dodgson


Gratitude is energy, an embodied feeling that flows from the inside out. The giving of gratitude opens space for generously receiving the gifts being shared. Gratitude touches everyone and everything involved directly in the exchange, while waves of appreciation ripple out far beyond.


What are you grateful for?


When we feel genuine gratitude, this is much more than a “thank you” spoken robotically, devoid of feeling and connectedness. Gratitude is a sharing of respect and appreciation. When we awaken and experience gratitude fully on the inside, we weave gratitude, appreciation, and heartfelt respect into our own bodies and beings, into our relationships, and into the vast web of life. Words don’t necessarily have to be spoken for appreciation to be felt and shared. The more often and fully we feel gratitude on the inside and allow this to openly flow, the more readily thanksgiving becomes part of our everyday lives.


Gratitude can even be brought into endings and the process of letting go. Fall is a beautiful guide to the natural movement through completions of cycles. When the Aspens and Cottonwood trees drop their leaves, they’re not shaking them off with frustration. The leaves were created by the trees, and are essential for the trees’ existence during a particular cycle and season of life. There comes a time when the leaves have served their purpose. A transformation in the relationship between tree and leaves is necessary for the continuance of life. With natural ease, the trees let the leaves go, not with despair or disregard, but with a spectacular colorful celebration. This change is a passage into a new cycle for everyone and everything involved.


As humans, we are often taught to fear change, to fight against death, to avoid and resist letting go. We tend to fuel endings with disappointment, anger, resentment, judgments of what is better than or less than, who is worthy of love or not. Gratitude and appreciation get left far behind. It doesn’t have to be this way.


During the process of an ending, we can purposefully choose to seek out, find, and bring alive inside us the feelings of acceptance, respect, and gratefulness for ourselves and for whatever has come to completion. The changes we’re navigating may involve relationships, finances, beliefs about self and others, home, the death of a beloved, or an addictive pattern. In all of these circumstances, gratitude and respect –for yourself, others, the circumstances –allow the completion of the cycle to be navigated with more ease and loving care. The dying-away of something that has served its purpose is a sacred process, an organic unfolding in the natural cycles of life. Endings and completions are passages into new cycles, filled with potentials for growth, healing, awakening, and transformation.


Gratitude opens space for receiving gifts in the here and now while honoring all that has been. Respect and appreciation generate equity and create balance. Gratitude brings clarity and freedom to the letting go, opening a universe of possibilities for what now can be manifested, created, understood, and shared.

JoAnne Dodgson is a healer, seer, and teacher in the kala keh nah seh lineage of Ka Ta See, a tradition from the Eastern Andes. For more information, please visit or email

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