HAPPY DECEMBER. We made it folks. I can hardly believe that we are in the final month of 2020, with 9 months taken up by the pandemic. I can definitely recall my most difficult moments (oh, a mere 5 1/2 months!), but instead I feel a ridiculous amount of gratitude. That in itself has been a practice. It reminds me of my experiences when I was new to meditation. At first, it felt like a chore. I’d want to rush through it or get it over with. The process was often achievement or guilt-driven. “I should mediate because I know it’s good for me.” “I should practice gratitude even though I don’t feel like it.” “I can’t think of anything else that I’m grateful for, and there’s 5 minutes left on my timer.” And similar to yoga, I found that it got easier exercising my gratitude muscles with more and more practice. I was getting less awkward and stiff! Now I feel gratitude expanding in my heart, whole being, and everyday awareness.
My gratitude practice is somewhat similar to a loving kindness meditation or metta. I send gratitude to the people close to me; the people that I don’t know well; the difficulties that teach me; to Mother Earth— her land that we take air, water, food from; and my spiritual guides. Lately, I have especially loved walking around town naming and thanking things aloud or to myself as I see them. “Thank you beautiful flowers on the sidewalk for brightening my day.” “Thank you grocery clerk for saying, ‘Hello how’s it going would you like your receipt” (because sometimes that’s the only human conversation I have all day.) “Thank you sunset for your magical energy.” And so on.
I also initiate a "thank you in advance" before I engage in an experience, enter a situation, or receive something. For example, this is often done before eating a meal in many cultures. When I'm on an airplane ready for take off, I usually say silently to whoever is listening (pilots, air crew, the universe), "Thank you for getting us to our destination safely." Even entering a new country is like being a guest in someone's home. You wouldn't just barge in, make demands, and behave arrogantly (as some tourists or expats are prone to do). For me, I take a moment to express my thanks to the country that has welcomed me and for taking care of me during my stay.
Give it a try! Commit to 5, 10, 15 minutes a day for a week or two to practice gratitude. We have a lot to be thankful for.
This is my last newsletter for 2020! Sending you blessings and bliss. Happy holidays!