Inspiration and gratitude come hard this week for me. As I said in my Welcome Letter, my bottom line these days has simply been, “Grrrrrrr”. Yet the natural beauty around me demands my attention, insists upon my heart’s participation in its brilliant surety.
The wetlands in the picture above literally lies in my backyard, just a few minute walk from the spot in which I now sit. How has that happened? How have I been given such constant, heart-opening reminders of the brilliance of that which is larger than me? My own choices would have kept me drunk and stoned on the floor of my walkup apartment in NYC.
My point? There is grace, there is an arc of positive life energy that brings the sun up in the mornings, that fills our days with light, and that takes the brightness away, creating night. The natural world reminds me of this, over and over again. This energetic flow is truly in charge of all. My evidence-based faith tells me that life does work, eventually and inevitably, for the greater unfoldment. The darkness will yield light. I know this. I just have not been feeling it.
The reminder is, as we focus on what is, rather than what is not, everything changes. Let’s lean toward gratitude, for our wellness and for one another’s.
The prayer I take into this holiday season is one I overheard at a 12 Step meeting long ago. It continues to live in my heart and feels profoundly relevant and comforting today:
Thank you for everything you’ve given me.
Thank you for everything you’ve taken from me.
Thank you for everything that’s left.
To support us in reconnecting to a visceral feeling of gratitude, I draw on the inspiring video by Louie Schwartzberg, a cinematographer who has done pioneering work in the world of time-lapsed photography. Give yourself the gift of these 9:39 minutes of heart-connection. Gratitude changes the brain, opens the heart, and relaxes the body. You deserve this 9:39 minutes of beauty. After Louie’s 3-and-a-half minute introduction, a beautiful meditation on nature and gratitude, led by Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, is available, too.
May this holiday season bring you and yours love, light, and (yes, damn it) laughter.