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Practicing Gratitude

I woke up being uncooperative this morning, but I kept it hidden because I don’t want to be a curmudgeon. I do my best to land on my feet with an attitude of gratitude and sometimes I find myself backing into life with my head down in the early morning when everything is fresh and new awaiting the day to reveal itself.

Practicing patience helps me stay below the radar with my grump as I wait it out until I feel softness and surrender come in. Maybe it’s the dreams or the coolness or even my pajamas twisting itself around my soul like I feel in life sometimes. Maybe it’s just the energy or the water I drank or the movie I watched. If I stop to figure it out, I’m distracted from practicing acceptance and moving on.

Life begins again in moments when I let go and breathe. Life begins again when I let go of my worries for this pain and that pain. Life begins again when I stop comparing myself to others. Life begins again when I take a moment for what it is—the now—and live it fully without commentary from the audience. Life begins again when I choose to reset, reboot and redirect so my feet land firmly and I’m not holding on to the reins of yesterday or tomorrow.

I’m counting down the days until my appointment to discuss my food plan. I’m holding my breath and shooing away the expectations I want as I remind myself over and over it’s better to live in expectancy. I want to be released from the binds of this medical diet and move to a place of relaxation. Like a bouncing ball, one thought leaps into the next. Will I go back to reacting to everything I put in my mouth? It’s safer to stay where I am and yet I am so limited. I become a comedic act talking to myself in my fury.

Whatever outcome, it all takes practice—practice to feel the ease of change; practice to find acceptance; practice to get used to new ideas; practice to be in the moment. I close my eyes and reach out for gratitude. I welcome gratitude in an open hand being sure not to grab on to what I think is a sure thing. Relax, breathe and be. I’m grateful I have a plan. I am grateful I have guidance. I am grateful for my patience. I am grateful for my curmudgeon. She wants to be loved too.

Despite fervent pleas for ease and safety, there are many days when reality doesn’t quite line up with what I’d choose. Breakdown. Letting go. Surrendering even the illusion of control. Breathing into the unknown – sometimes that is what life holds.

Practice hasn’t brought an end to pain. I still increase my suffering like a fish caught on a line. My struggles only draw the hook in deeper. But being in reality is its own reward. It’s the perfect paradox; the courage to stand and breathe when everything in me wants to flee is as great a gift as the freedom to seek retreat.

No, practice hasn’t brought an end to pain but it has honed my willingness to experience the moment and sometimes see perfection unfolding in ways I wasn’t big enough to plan, much less predict.

Practice isn’t about achieving a goal. It’s not a means to pole-vault over suffering. Practice is my way of looking life in the face and saying yes to all its disparate gifts. Practice keeps me awake when I would sleep, and reminds me it’s the journey, unfolding in this very moment, it’s the journey that reveals the truth, and not the destination.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Thank you. There was so much that you said, like it’s a buffet table and it’s hard to know whether to sample everything or pick out one or two things. During the meditation, I was thinking of the buffet table being full of fruit. From the fruit comes the seed and from the seed comes the flower and makes another fruit. I just pictured sampling the fruits and then developing the seed into the flower into another fruit. Thank you.

  • Thank you for this reminder that the practice is not the destination. I look for the magic, what if I do this then this is going to happen. It’s another way of not being in the present. When I started being silent for the meditation, my computer went out. My practice, what am I going to do with this? My computer was working slowly and so I had a lot of silence. It’s fascinating to me that the practice is in everything. This was like, what does this mean to me if I can’t get back into the meditation group? It was a light bulb going off, that it’s at this level you are taking about. Being present, and the expectations of what may or what may not. Thank you for letting me back in.

  • Letting people back in during the meditation is part of my process. Do I meditate or do I watch the screen for messages? I’ve changed things so that I set the timer for 14 minutes and during that time, I give myself permission to meditate and not check on the screen. During the last minute, I come out of it and check. I give myself permission to not control things and accept things the way they are. Thank you for this wonderful reading. It is about practice. It’s easy to say the words about letting go and expectancy. What is hard is to do them. So it’s good to practice them on little things, so that when it comes to the big things, I can let go and live in expectancy.

  • Thank you. Yesterday’s words (see Jan 2 blog) and today’s words work together for me. I picked up on letting go which brings us into the present. For myself, letting go of controlling other people and worrying. I have children and I mothered for a long time. I thought that’s what mothers did, they worry, until I came to see that it’s not a mother’s job to control her adult kids. I still find myself thinking about my children, my spouse, my boss. I give myself permission to let go of all that and focus on me. It sometimes feels like there are walls, and it takes practice again and again to stay plugged in. Sometimes I feel unplugged from myself.

  • Thank you for your time today. I enjoy seeing all your faces every day, such a pleasure. I hope you have a relaxing day, an aware day so if you aren’t relaxed, you can find it again as we pull ourselves back and do U-turns resetting, rebooting and redirecting all the time. I wish you well.

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