So, the Nameless Recovering Person walks into a Twelve Step meeting, sits down, and tries to settle.
The chairperson opens the meeting in the usual way, during which the Nameless Recovering Person (who will remain anonymous, cough-cough), attempts to ignore the positivity flowing around her. She does her best to shun the warmth being exchanged. This evasive technique, practiced before, is strengthened by arriving just as the meeting begins.
The chairperson offers the topic. Since it is around Thanksgiving, the topic offered, predictably, is gratitude.
The Nameless Recovering Person, internally and not aloud—there is progress!—responds with an internal flow of the following steamy words:
Once the internal cursing subsided, the next layer of interior mumbling begins to unfold:
Not this again.
And, as the story unfolds, as the meeting unfolds, sixty minutes later, she, this Nameless Recovering Person, leaves the room, realigned, calmed, reconnected to possibility, softened within herself, her negativity at bay, just a bit.
Practice, again and again.
Simply begin again, as Jack Kornfield, the meditation teacher, offers.
Simply begin again.
The power of practice lies in the forgetting.
Noticing the lapse, recognizing the forgetting, recognizing becomes a doorway to a more authentic, deepening practice.
No matter how many times you fall down, get up again, says the Buddhists.
Fall down 100 times?
Get up 101.
Have you lost perspective and become terrified about the driveway not being plowed?
Whenever you notice the fear, lean toward faith without judgment.
From fear to faith.
From forgetting to remembering.
The power of the practice lies in the lapse.
That is the time, the moment, to lean toward the new behavior.
We can change our brain, our bodies, and our behavior. Through noticing with radical compassion, through leaning toward, through returning to the new behavior without judgment, we change.
How many 12 Step meetings have I been in, with gratitude as the topic? How many times have I reacted negatively to the topic? And how many times have I received exactly what I have needed, from that topic? And how many times did the meeting return me to the practice of gratitude?
Heading toward a 100% success rate, I do believe.
Okay! Gratitude. Here we go again. ‘Tis the season.
Let’s consider. We know gratitude changes the chemistry of the brain. When we focus on what isn’t happening, on what is missing, we constrict. We tighten. We hunker down in the sympathetic nervous system, the fight/flight/freeze response. We put our foot on the brake, rather than giving the process a little gas, a little fuel.
The fuel is the breath. The gas is the relaxing, the softening around.
Gratitude takes us back to the parasympathetic nervous system, the response of rest/and/digest.
Let’s return to the practice of gratitude again.
I have two offerings of visual gratitude.
The first, the rainbow picture above, is from a few weeks ago. Mumbling to myself, driving down the road, turning onto Alford Road, there it was, just waiting for me.
It took away my breath. It changed the moment! I remembered how beautiful life is.
Check it out.
My second offer of gratitude is this short video, some thirty-some seconds.
Check it out.
Here’s the challenge, oh, Reader-Folks;
I invite you, I challenge you, I urge you to create something that documents your gratitude, a picture, a video, something written. What touches you? What opens your heart? What returns you home to yourself? Document, and send on to somebody you love.
Send it on to somebody you love!
Let’s pass around our gratitudes!
Returning to practice.
No judgment needed.
We are changing
All blessings, dear readers. Love and prayers to you and yours as this holiday season unfolds.