Sunday, December 2, 2018
Lately I have taken breaks from writing. There is a lot in the works. The altar set up above was from my post Thanksgiving weekly prayers. The Friday after Thanksgiving is always easy for me to find the prayer focus as it is always about gratitude.
I won't lie, the last few years have been really tough for me. I've ended relationships, I've lost people, and I have more loss ahead. I don't want to sugarcoat things, because sometimes as we drive along the road of life a long stretch of it is truly awful. However, I do think it is important to acknowledge our blessings and give thanks for what continues to support us. It's easy to take for granted what we have. I continue to have some top notch people in my life. I have several phenomenal teachers with impeccable integrity. I have a handful of good friends that want the best for me. I have work that is meaningful to me and makes a difference. I often forget that teaching Tai Chi in some ways boils down to being paid to workout more. How many people do you know that get paid for that? I have a warm place to sleep, and I always have food. I am in fairly good shape and health. It's easy to see only what is missing or what doesn't measure up, but the truth is I have lot going for me in this moment.
As holiday madness descends, it can be tempting to compare our lives to how we think they ought to be. No holiday has the power to banish longstanding familial strife, or personal trauma. It is more than likely that holidays will stir up the heaviness we carry within. We don't have to be perfect Christmas cards (and the even more annoying holiday brag letter) people. All of us have ups and downs, including yours truly. I know of no power or magic that will change that, it is simply part of being alive. Gratitude helps us to remember to be humble. Much of what we have is due to no special worthiness or quality that we possess, it is simply a product of grace and luck. Where we are born, the resources we have, are in large part completely beyond our control. Nothing we have or do is completely ours. We've all had help and a bit of luck.
So why am I telling you this now two weeks after the fact? Well I'm sure many of you got caught up in the feasting, and maybe even shopping. Thanksgiving for many years was my favorite holiday as I got to spend time with loved ones without all the fuss of worrying over presents. It is often treated as food laden gateway into the holiday season, but I believe it is crucial to regularly reflect on our blessings. If we don't, we can easily become selfish and greedy, and those traits never lead to fulfillment.
How about you? Have you spent the time to really reflect on what you have going for you? Have you told those around you how much you appreciate them? Have you counted your near misses with tragedy as blessings too? Well you may want to take some time in between holiday parties, decorating, work, and shopping to feel into your gratitude. Until next time.
Peace and Blessings,