I don’t call myself a Buddhist. I am a free spirit. I believe I’m here to enjoy all that life offers me. -Alice walker
On this eve of Thanksgiving, I sit here and reflect on all that I am grateful for. I am grateful for a lot. If you’ve been following me on my personal facebook page, you’ve most likely read all of my posts about what I am grateful for on each day. Most importantly, I’m grateful for my blessed life. I’ve been blessed with so much in my life and it isn’t everyday that I’ve expressed it. In fact, I am guilty of being ungrateful at times when I should be grateful. I am guilty of pissing my closest family members off in the past for showing such ungratefulness. But that’s not what this post is about. It’s about how deep I feel about gratitude.
Last night I was strolling through twitter reading different posts about gratitude and Thanksgiving. While doing so, I came across this amazing quote ‘Gratitude is a practice, just like happiness is a choice.’ I thought to myself ‘aint that the fuckin’ truth!’
Gratitude is a practice. In my experience I have found that it is necessary to write down or say out loud all of the things that I am grateful for. I find myself saying the words ‘Thank You’ a lot to my boyfriend, friends or family after they’ve given me something as simple as their time. It feels good to say ‘Thank You’ and it feels good to repeat it.
I love the quote by Eckart Tolle “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
OR here’s another good quote about gratitude “If we don’t feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?”
So true. Look around. Scan what’s around you. Are you satisfied? Do you feel whole? Are you happy with what is around you or are you dissatisfied?
Once again, I am so grateful for my blessed life. This past year has been so good to me. I’ve traveled to Costa Rica twice, completed my 500 hr yoga certification, met some amazing souls from all over the planet, traveled to see family, stood in my best friends wedding and received gifts beyond my wildest dreams.
On the other hand, right before Thanksgiving of last year, I lost my job. Well, it was 1 of a few jobs that I was working, but it was my main source of income. I remember the day and moment it happened. I was at home in my apartment getting ready to meditate and do yoga. In the moment that I realized that I’d been let go, a sense of gratitude and joy washed over me. I felt thankful for this. Yeah, you may be wondering what the hell I’m talking about. Like, how can I be grateful that I got fired? It’s simple. It gave me the opportunity to be free from a job that was limiting me in being who I am meant to be.
Now as grateful as I was, I was also pissed off. I was pissed because of how my boss had handled it. But as time went by, my days felt lighter and I started to say to myself ‘Thank You Universe for answering my prayer. I am now ready to take a leap of faith and jump into the life that I have dreamt of living.’
Goodness, if I hadn’t been fired, then I wouldn’t have been able to travel to Costa Rica twice! cha ching!!!!
I’ve been given so many gifts in this lifetime. Yes, I’ve lived an abundant material life, but more importantly I’ve been given inner resources and talents that at times I don’t even realize because I’m so overwhelmed with the world around me. I’m so thankful tonight for everything in my life. I am so thankful for my family and friends who have cheered me on and supported me throughout this last year. I am so thankful for my health and my physical body. It’s stronger than I realize. I’m thankful for my family and my niece and nephew. I’m thankful that I have a man in my life who treats me just as good as he did on the day we met. I am thankful for my little, but big apartment that I’ve lived comfortably in for the last 7 years. I am thankful for my car and it getting me all over Charlotte so that I can spread the yoga love to every corner of this fast, growing city. I’m thankful for the resources that have gotten me to this place. I am thankful for my yoga practice and what it reveals to me. I am thankful for YOU. I am thankful that you are reading this.
16 years ago on this day, I woke up and drove through the Saguaro Desert to Tucson’s nicest resort Loews Ventana Canyon. It was my golden birthday 22 on the 22 and my mom gave me this special gift for my birthday. A whole day at the spa! Facial, Massage, Yoga and a healthy lunch. This was all very new to me. My first real spa experience. I was told to show up wearing loose-fitting clothes, so I showed up wearing a t-shirt with my high schools logo and a long pair of leggings. Having no clue that this experience would open up a new direction for me. One I had longed to discover for the majority of my life.
As I drove up the canyon and through the desert, I longed for a shift in my life. I had been dealing with a lot of pain and suffering in my life for the past 2 years. My dad had suddenly died 2 years prior and I had recently stopped taking an anti-depressant, which had only temporarily masked my pain and suffering. Stopping the medication was very difficult. I had spent a couple of weeks prior to this day dealing with pain in my brain from coming off the drug. The pain was so intense. It felt like there were bullets poking at my skull 24/7. My body felt so yucky and disconnected. My soul longed for something deeper. Something that would shift my entire perception of myself and the world.
When I arrived at Lowes Ventana Canyon, I was directed to a beautiful studio space with glossy wood floors and a big window overlooking the Saguaro Desert. There was relaxing music playing in the background and the teacher, a young, fit beautiful brunette handed me a blue rubber sticky mat. I rolled the mat out onto the floor and stood on it with my bare feet. I had never been barefoot in a setting other than dance, so it felt a little foreign to me. As I sat down and listened to the teachers directions, I was lead into a subtle state of relaxation. We moved through a series of yoga postures, also known as asanas and my body started to feel open in areas I had not felt in years. In fact, the feelings were almost as foreign to me as the Sanskrit names that the teacher was calling out in reference to the poses. Throughout the class I wondered, ‘what is this? this feels so good? you mean stretching can open my heart?’ My 22 yr old self temporarily dismissed its plans to go out and get drunk with college friends. In that hour I was able to breathe, feel and experience the truth of myself that had once seemed so lost.
I had begun my yoga journey. I had begun to discover everything that I searched to find in the years leading up to this. I had fallen in love with my spirituality and I had learned to start loving myself again.
After yoga, I sat outside on a terrace overlooking the desert and ate an avocado salad. Tears began to drip down my face as I thought of my father. Another tear dripped down my face as a sense of peace washed over me and inside I said to myself “Thank you God for listening.”
I am so thankful for that birthday and my Moms generosity. She gave me the best birthday present ever. One that I could give back to others through my heart-felt sense of peace. One that someday would lead me down a path of helping others find that same sense of peace and compassion on their own rubber sticky mat.