Today I was looking for a song about gratitude, and when I thought about it, Alanis Morissette’s “Thank U,” from her 1998 album, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie was ideal. Let me tell you why.
I’ve mentioned before that a few years ago, my mum died. Months after, I took part in a retreat themed on grief. Much of the gathering’s content was inspired by the Francis Weller book, The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief. I found the retreat and book profoundly enlightening. Sweety and I have both read it, are re-reading it, and have recommended it to numerous folks, many of whom have found it enriching to them. (If not available through your local bookseller, it can be found on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.)
One of the most notable parts of the book is the idea that, as Weller says in this video, “…when we step across that threshold and enter the room of grief… it has a way of opening up the rest of our lives…” He continues with the room analogy, saying that after crossing that threshold, “… we enter the hallway of community, joy…” He goes on to recount the 18th century English poet William Blake’s statement about the deeper the sorrow, the greater the joy, and this feeds a central part of what Weller recommends as the rituals and practices to develop a greater sense of gratitude as part of moving in the grieving process. I found this concept and practice more helpful than I can express.
I’ve always liked Morissette’s take on thankfulness as she moves beyond that traditional habit of being thankful for only the positive things in one’s life. I “got” her idea many years ago. Still, the reading I’ve done has solidified my understanding and adoption of the call in her lyrics, including the culminating line, “How bout unabashedly bawling your eyes out…” and:
“Thank you India
Thank you Providence,
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you nothingness
Thank you clarity
Thank you, thank you silence…”
And now, the latest instalment in serendipity. I was working on this post in the late afternoon, after biking 64.5 kilometres (40 miles; my longest ride yet) and cutting our grass. The roots of the newly-reseeded lawn are still too fragile to use the less-efficient reel mower, so I had borrowed an e-mower from friends down our street. I had to set the blog aside before finishing, though, as I had said I’d make dinner (a rare occurrence) while my sweety was out in the afternoon, and we needed to finish dinner before a Zoom gathering I was hosting at 7:00 pm. After the meeting, as I was returning the mower to our friends’ back yard just a while ago, today’s selection was playing on the radio in their neighbours’ yard. I said to my friend, “That’s my song for today!”
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the official video for the song from Alanis Morissette’s YouTube channel: