Every morning when I meander into the kitchen, I am captivated by this quote above that sits nestled in the crevices of a cabinet door. It is a reminder that all I have is the sweetness of this moment in my life. And so, it affirms the essence with which I dutifully live my life today. And that is, every moment and every thing is to be given the utmost respect and appreciated with such a level of gratitude so that when the moment or thing is gone, I am left with no regrets for having ignored the moment. I am daring to live fully and live every minute with grace, love and gratitude.
Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ John Milton
This month I have focused my teaching on gratitude, even in the moments when we are faced with adversity or are living in darkness. I have come to learn that every situation we are presented with has something to teach us. Especially those situations that provide us with our greatest challenges and pain. And thus I ask myself, what is the lesson here? How can I be grateful for this obstacle? There is only one situation where I have been unable to see positive coming from negative. That situation is the loss of a loved one. There is simply no greater pain than the loss of life. However, I am gently made aware by someone much wiser than me, “without that loss, you would not be who you are today.” I had not considered this position before. The loss in my life was inevitable and of course I would trade that life back for whoever I might have become. But that is not a possibility. All I am left with is who I have become today because of that pain. I am grateful, for today I live a life of love.
If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with
gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul. ~ Rabbi Harold Kushner
Today, I visited with a teacher and a friend who is gracefully battling all of the unknowns of brain cancer. I was uncontrollably moved to tears, as we sat on her couch and she expressed how her life has been lived for the last seven months. Not only did I feel the past scars of witnessing my father’s battle with cancer rising to the surface, but I also felt something greater. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be sitting there with her for it was the purest form of love and appreciation for the beautiful way in which she has embraced her circumstances. To be able to mindfully sit and recount learning how to let go of the unknown, of “things”, of fear… To recognize finally, that she is loved and also IS love, as well as solidifying the idea that everything is uncertain and can disappear in a moment. Maybe, it is in that radical acceptance, she sat there so peacefully and beautifully.
“Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend… when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present — love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure — the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach