This is a week of Thanksgiving and gathering in the United States. And I know that not every person is thrilled or even comfortable with the holidays. Maybe your family is divided on politics. Maybe the holidays bring your grief to the surface. Maybe there is a deep desire to really let yourself live and love and express how you truly feel, but something holds you back.
I woke up early this morning and just laid in the dark – listening to the silence. I sense a “disheartenedness” in me. I feel the tiredness. I watch the wonderings and doubts in me.
And yet I also feel the pulse of Aliveness. I feel the eternal sense of hope that somehow finds its way into the corners of our hearts. And it extends a buoyancy to our heavy hearts and habits that seem to have us in their grips.
And in that wave of Hope, I hear these words from the Beloved,
“Take heart, my dear. There is still yet an abundance of Delight to be had in this beautiful, messy life.”
Again and again I hear this promise from the Beloved that Rumi and Hafiz and the mystics talk of. There is a sacred sense of delight to be discovered and experienced in this very life and is available in this very moment.
I turn again to Brother David Steindl-Rast.
Brother David is a Catholic Benedictine monk. He has devoted his life to the intersection of spirituality and science. He is well known for his sense of gratitude — cultivating and savoring it within his own life, and supporting others to do the same.
Here are some quotes from Brother David:
“You think this is just another day in your life. It’s not just another day. It’s the one day that is given to you today. It’s the only gift that you have right now. And the only appropriate response is gratefulness.”
“Everything is a gift. The degree to which we are awake to this truth is a measure of our gratefullness, and gratefullness is measure of our aliveness.”
“So I wish that you can open your heart to all these blessings, and let them flow through you. Then everyone whom you will meet on this day will be blessed by you. Just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch. Just by your presence. Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. And then, it will really be, a good day.”
“The practical way to get to gratefulness is to start with wonderment. Our lives & the world are full of surprise.”
“Living in gratefulness takes away fear.”
How can you incorporate gratitude into your everyday life – even in stressful, turbulent times? Here are five Gems for your everyday life:
1. Incorporate a blessing before a meal in your everyday life. Brother David and a Network for Grateful Living offer beautiful Thanksgiving meal blessings. Such a Sacred Pause supports not only a grateful heart but good digestion!
2. When you feel like nit-picking the imperfections in yourself and others, instead instantly see that you are nit-picking because you are suffering in some way. Maybe you are carrying too much, holding too much, taking on too much responsibility, or holding back from really living the life you want to lead. Here is a post to support you in exploring what wounds this person may be bringing up in you and how THIS kind of exploration organically brings about a grateful heart. :
3. Tell someone how grateful you are for them. Too often, we forget how much it means for someone we love to hear how grateful we are for them — just as they are and for who they are. Let them know! Here is one of my beautiful cards on Gratitude that I have on my shop. It’s blank inside for you to write your own words of gratitude to your dear one. It could be a beautiful practice this holiday season to sit down and write a few notes of gratitude to the dear ones in your life.
4. Cultivate a daily practice of gratitude. Brother David talks a lot about how gratitude is a skill to cultivate if we pause, open our eyes and hearts, and have the intention to let life touch us. Try my Attitude of Gratitude meditation. I offer a lovely reflection and lead you through how to see with new eyes as you go through your day. It’s a meditation that you can come back to again and again when you sense the inner need to cultivate gratitude.
Cultivating gratitude opens us to the delights right here in our everyday life.
So this morning, I am pausing, opening my heart to the goodness that is right here, and trusting the Inner Voice that, yes, there truly is delight here here to be lived, embodied, experienced and shared.
May these Gems support you, too, in awakening your sense of gratitude and opening your eyes and heart to the delight all around you in this messy, beautiful life.Blessings,