I was spending the night in a darling beach cabin on a beautiful secluded piece of Lake Tahoe, with my daughter Lilli and her best friend Sophie-Ann. My friends Kali and Colleen came by for a fancy dinner of pizza and salad, which we ate on the pier with the fluorescent sun setting over the mountains and sisterhood warming our hearts. I went inside to grab some napkins, and as I headed back out toward the pier, the scene before me of natural beauty and all these girls that I love, triggered the full abundance of my life to swell in my heart and overwhelm my presence with gratitude. In an instant, the thought; “this time next week I will be in Haiti facing a radically different reality”, contrasted the scene that I was taking in and made the essence of thank you even more potent. The residue of that moment stayed. Imprinting itself on myself, a tattoo of remembrance of the gifts of my life and the true power of gratitude. With that experience of overwhelming gratitude added to the full mixture moments that is my life, my being has shifted, transformed, evolved.
I have noticed that gratitude can be a term of emotion that can seem quite elusive, more of a notion rather than a reality. But when you have those true experiences with it, gratitude is unmistakable and undeniably altering. So how do we get this positive shift in consciousness to remain present for us? We practice - practice being thankful, every given day, all day long. Because as we become accustomed to the nature of our lives, we begin to take for granted all the we have, all that we are, and all that’s being offered through each experience that we are given. And gratitude becomes elusive again.
Water for example. We turn on the tap and the water flows out. We don’t have to work for it, wish for it, or even think about it, water just flows. We wait while it flows from the faucet and allow it to heat up; we linger a bit longer in the shower allowing it to comfort and warm us to the bones; we turn on the clothes or dishwasher and the water comes; we can quench our thirst at any moment, water our lawns and parks, grow beautiful flowers, make snow, fill pools, drink from the hose, wash our dogs, our cars, our teeth. Water so essential, so elemental, so necessary for life and mostly we unconsciously consume it and expect its ever-presence without much thought or appreciation. Sadly, most will likely continue to do so until it stops flowing so freely.
In preparation for my trip to Haiti, my consciousness and gratitude for water has noticeably increased. In Haiti, people hike miles for water each day, lots of it dirty, all of it cold. They wash themselves and everything else in the river, which is lots of work and often not very near their homes. They work hard and are extremely grateful for every drop. In fact, the Haitians I have met are some of the most thankful people that I know. Though they have so little, and have gone through so much, their hearts are full with this sense of appreciation which then overflows into the most magnificent graciousness. The power of gratitude strong in their hearts, holding them up and carrying them through even the toughest of times and leanest of resources.
What is your relationship with gratitude? Is it more of a notion, an elusive emotion? Or do you have some lived experiences of gratitude to draw from? Do you have an active gratitude practice?
Is there anywhere in your life where you are taking for granted? Any place where you are leaving the metaphorical tap running without much thought or appreciation? If you said yes, don’t bother with self judgement. These areas of disconnect are the places that hold the highest potential for growth. Great awareness mixed with radical acceptance of these truths is the first step of transformation, evolution and empowerment.
Now with a heightened level of consciousness, will you allow your gratitude to be known? Will you show your appreciation for the fullness of your life and all of the experiences within it that have given you the opportunity to live, learn, love, grow and ultimately to let go? Will you let the voice of thank you resonate through your body, mind, heart, soul? Will you let your loved ones know? Will you walk the earth with gracious appreciation? Will you touch each life-giving breath and the moments that ride upon them with a true acknowledgement for the gifts that they are?
I hope you will join me in making this a daily practice, a moment-by-moment exploration of the lived experience of gratitude. With an overwhelming sense of fullness in my heart, thank you for being all that you are!