That thing called Gratitude
I have to admit it. As corny as it sounds, Yoga is really beginning to bring me to the power of gratitude in a far more consistent and powerful form than I’ve ever accessed before. It’s taken years and don’t get me wrong - it is not solid yet, might leave me at times - but I finally really feel the shift.
When I say Yoga by the way, I don’t necessarily just mean that time you spend on a mat in a studio. I mean it a lot more generally. I mean Yoga as in that time you spend anywhere - trying to become more aware of your thoughts and how they shape your entire world.
Your. Entire. World.
They say we are born pure and joYful and that the world makes us harder, more sorrowful. I’m not so sure because I know I’m not alone when I say that I can recall from a VERY young age being easily wounded. It would take so little to break me down and quite a lot to build me up. From a VERY young age I felt this. I’m talking six years old. Many of you did too. I know it.
I could be wrong, but I think instead we are born with wounds and sadness and they get fed a lot so they grow (another time, we can talk about how they get fed). If we could figure out a way to starve them and instead nourish purity and joY from the earliest years, maybe that is what would grow. Maybe then we wouldn’t have to turn 32 and realize we’ve been less than happy for a very, very long time and spend the next eight years searching and searching and searching for joY.
I mean, hypothetically of course, not me or anything. No, I’m talking about you, not me. Nope.
Don’t get me wrong. Most of us do NOT experience “I want to kill myself” kind of unhappiness thankfully. Instead, it is just a general discontent . . . the kind of constant pull toward sadness, frustration, disappointment . . . that causes you, quite simply, to miss out on experiencing the joY you didn’t even know was so available to you.
Yoga can bring you to this place of joY via the path of gratitude. It is so true, but it really takes time and commitment to harness it and then to keep it from escaping you. You can’t give up on it.
Is it possible that the difference between someone who experiences mostly joY and someone who experiences mostly sorrow, comes down to gratitude?
Could it come down to being able to look at a table filled with some really good friends who actually make a point to see you on a regular basis and realizing how profound that is, so much so that you feel like crying as you say to yourself: “Holy shit I am so frigaroni grateful for these girls in my life.” I did that this morning.
Could it come down to having a job that could cause you great stress and that is often misunderstood, but not giving into that . . . to finally saying: “No, I am not going to look at it from that view. I am going to look at how I get to impact the lives of children every day and I get a very decent paycheck to do that, amazing colleagues, sufficient time off and very good benefits.” That’s what I say.
Could it come down to getting older and feeling insecure and worried about that and looking at your body and wondering if it’s good enough and then saying to yourself: “Hey self? Shut the front door you dumb-ass. When you were twenty you weren’t happy with this body either so it has nothing to do with getting older. You have all four limbs and they work beautifully. What more do you need?” I just said that yesterday.
What does it come down to for you?
John F. Kennedy said: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Damn. I love uttering words. Living by them is the hard part.