Sunday, July 17, 2011

Gratitude


"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend." 
Melody Beattie

We often meet people of all ages who are going through life-changing experiences.  Anything from the birth of a baby or car accident, to a divorce or loss of a loved one. One thing that we often come away with when we connect with these folks is how aware they've become of the preciousness of life.

Quite often, we "sleepwalk" through our days caught up in the stickiness of our thoughts and we don't even take a moment to turn our hearts towards this extraordinary gift that we've been given. Until one day when the universe knocks us over the head (in large or small ways) and asks us to sit-up and take notice.  Something happens to shake us out of our haze and suddenly here we are, looking at life through different eyes - the eyes of gratitude.  Gratitude somehow softens our too guarded hearts and can enhance our ability to forgive which creates clarity and insight and helps us to grow into strong, spiritual beings.  In essence, gratitude brings us home to who we truly are - to who we have always been.

Through our own gratitude we begin to see that each and every life is precious, that each and every breath we take is a gift.

Today, as you get on your yoga mat or meditation cushion, practice being consciously grateful for your life.  For the family, friends, teachers, and all those who have come before you who have made it possible for your spirit to be comfortable, informed, and empowered. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to mentally note the many people who have served you by providing shelter, safety, food, medicine, and education.

When we follow our hearts, our gratitude and our inner knowing, we turn towards a life of clarity, calmness and service to the whole.

What are you grateful for? 

Until next time...

"How long is a lifetime?" asked the master.  
"Three score and ten." responded one.
"Until you die." answered another.
"Both wrong."
"How long is a lifetime then?" asked the students.
"One breath." responded the master.
"How can that be?"
"Because man can only live one breath at a time.  Yesterdays breaths are a memory.  Tomorrow's are  a speculation.  The only lifetime a person can live happens within one breath."
"And what should we take from this?" asked the class.
"Respect the life you have when you have it.  Live it. Be mindful of each moment during the moment.  Instead  of thinking about lunch, be present now. Feel the cushion that you're sitting on, smell the incense, see the vase holding the flowers."
"And what about unpleasant times?" asked a student.
"Then too, be alive.  Seek out  the good moments among the less good.  Even with pain, live the pain."
"This sounds like a bit of self indulgence," said one senior student.
"No my friend," said the master, taking a deep breath.
"It is life." (From Zen Fables For Today by R. McLean)

A PRECIOUS HUMAN LIFE
By H.H. the XIV Dalai Lama
Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it, I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.

Gratitude Playlist:
Unravel-Bjork
Bittersweet Symphony-The Verve
Lucky Man-The Verve
Thank U-Alanis Morissette
Blackout-Muse
Not Fade Away-Florence + The Machine
Joga-Bjork
Wonderwall-Ryan Adams
Set 'Em Free Part 1-Akron/Family
Turn Into-Yeah Yeah Yeah's
To Build a Home (Edit)-The Cinematic Orchestra
Home-Xavier Rudd
Sort Of Revolution-Fink
Flyrock Blues-Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore
Heaven-Brandi Carlisle
Nothing Else Matters-Scala & Kolacny Brothers

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