Giving Thanks #16
On the fourth Thursday in November, we Americans, as a collective, consciously set time, precious time, to gather with loved ones and share a meal. There are some traditional items had at this meal but because we are a nation of many peoples from many diverse backgrounds there is a feast of many colors, textures and tastes to be had.
We can agree we have much to be thankful for. How do we define it, nurture it, express it? Through the continual refinement of knowing and showing our appreciation.
Thanksgiving day is a wonderful reminder, a demarkation during the cycle of the year to stop and take stock of all that we have; to give thanks for it through our ever increasing capacity to express our appreciation.
We do so as a culture of Americans collectively, on the fourth Thursday in November. As yogis, we are invited to do so every day as we sit, close our eyes and commune in the great heart of consciousness.
We have arrived at another Thanksgiving Day, an important reminder in the cycle of the year. Many Americans call this their favorite holiday- no presents to buy, no pressure on how to celebrate. It is a very intrinsic holiday, one that flows ease-fully from the heart. We come together, in community of one sort or another with the express intention of sharing a meal, one that is often prepared by many hands; a walk, a game, a class and time spent together. How we spend our time and money is a direct expression of our power as an individual.
Holiday, “holy day” this week marks a “holy time” that we come together to feast, on the bounty of food yes, but also on the bounty of community and the things that bring us together make us whole, full. The rituals that bind us: turkey, football, 5K, yoga, meditation.
As a holiday it is also an exemption from work, from the so called ordinary and as such, we treat it with honor and respect. It is special! This is a great reminder for us, nature and custom has built these days into our year so we don’t forget. They are pauses, if you will.
As yogis we are keenly aware of the power of these times, these markers when the veil of forgetfulness is thinnest. For it is at these times, that we may more easily, quickly, spontaneously penetrate to the heart of the matter, to the heart of consciousness that beats in us all. For a brief moment we are all, more or less, on the same wave length and that is powerful indeed. Let us look to harness and direct this collective power to the highest, for the highest.
We celebrate our connection, our wholeness no matter who we are or what our circumstances in life. At this time, we stop and look intently for that which we are most grateful. High on our list is the gift of life itself and our capacity to have moved through the year hopefully with skill and love and to look forward to increasing that capacity in the coming one.
The practice of yoga asks for more. It compels us to go deeper, to note and name what it is we are grateful for, to find ever more beautiful ways to express that gratitude in the form of appreciation and to see more fully the hand of the divine in all.
This is our Personal Vow of Gratitude. What we do, say and make manifest is coated and enlivened with our intention and this spills out into the world. It is a very powerful time and for me, an invitation to renew my vow, in Sanskrit, ‘vrata’.
To renew and refine, ’to refine is the impulse of the divine.’ Our practice asks us to remember, to recognize, to honor every day, every single breath, in as many ways as we can. There is as much diversity in showing appreciation as there is diversity in the gifts we have been given.
To do this is to honor our sensitivity, to become ‘a virtuoso of life.’
In doing so we increase our technical skill, fluency and personal style.
Virtuosity: artistry, degree of rhythm and harmony that is displayed while a movement is executed. In general, the more flowing and seamless a series of skills appears to be, the greater the virtuosity and the higher the offering.
Virtuoso, total mastery of one’s instrument. In yoga that instrument is the very body/mind itself that is enlivened by the intellect and deeply supported by the breath. The Sanskrit word ‘virya’ meaning strength, courage, heroic, is perhaps the root of this beautiful word virtuoso. At once so ordinary and so extraordinary.
What am I grateful for?
Authenticity is specific. How much brighter appreciation shines when it is named!
How much sweeter the taste of gratitude on the tongue when it is shared.
Today I give thanks for:
My capacity to know more deeply, more fully. I am delighted and astonished more and more by my growing ability to see light in seemingly ordinary things and circumstances; how the sun shines at a particular time of day; how clean water tastes; to revisit previous knowledge and circumstances and watch them unfold more deeply in my heart and mind in the present experience.
The remembrance that not all beings have the basic gifts of a modern society at their disposal, clean water, food and housing, compels me to acknowledge my gratitude and directly influences my capacity to search out more concrete ways of effecting this in some positive manner.
My husband and his unwavering support, love and belief in me is remembrance of those same qualities that exist intrinsically, abundantly in nature and are freely mine when I align with the highest. This is support that is never ending.
My precious family who remain a touch stone, a potent reminder of my individual origin, accepting every part of my quirky self even as I strive to figure out my place in an ever morphing world. Family, blood and otherwise, is the one place you can fall, mess up and shine all at the same time, while the light of unconditional love tracks and holds you safe. This too is a recognition of the deepest love that is the birthright of all humans. May all know it!
My dear, friends, students, teachers. When I remember them, I am pulled up to the full measure of my height and power and courageously challenge myself to do more, to hone my skills, to increase my knowledge in service of my highest intention.
Just as success breeds success, so too does gratitude, as a practice, breed appreciation. And this is what supports our efforts to go more deeply into everything, absolutely everything.
Now, right now, renew your Personal Vow. What does gratitude compel you to do?
Today, I am Giving Thanks For This Life. I am renewing my commitment to deepening the knowing and experiencing of my fullest Self so that I may find ever more creative ways of expressing my gratitude in concrete forms of appreciation that ripple out and serve the world.
Bring The Light! Meditate.